In an email to Bloomberg News, French economist Thomas Piketty called the criticism of his work “just ridiculous.”
Piketty had earlier offered a longer but somewhat nebulous response to Financial Times. The gist of it was that his argument was on solid footing even if the details of his data needed adjustment. Speaking of the historical wealth data he used to create his charts he wrote, “For the time being, we have to do with what we have.”
In his statement to Bloomberg Sunday he appeared more combative saying there was “nomistake or error” in his work. He did finally respond to one of the serious charges–that he had misused data on wealth in the UK–saying the data the Financial Times relied on in its criticism was “very low quality.”
Many economists seem to have rallied around Piketty. Without arguing the particulars, Paul Krugman disputed the idea that Piketty could be wrong, at least with regard to the U.S. Elsewhere in the Times, Justin Wolfers downplayed the significance of the errors identified by FT. Responses at the Washington Post and Vox made very similar observations. Everyone thinks Piketty should explain, no one thinks the issues undercut his thesis.
Economist Scott Winship, who has been a critic of Piketty’s conclusions, summed up the general mood. He told Bloomberg News the errors are not “significant for thefundamental question of whether Piketty’s thesis is right ornot.”