We’re living in a golden age of economic information. Thanks to huge data sets and computers that can analyze them, we know much more than we once did about how much money American families earn and the financial paths they take over a lifetime. Some of the most important data has come from a team of researchers led by Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman. (You’re probably familiar with Piketty for his policy arguments, but he’s also a leading empiricist.) A chart based on their work has recently been getting attention. It shows the enormous rise in economic inequality in the United States since 1980 …

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