A commonly cited figure concerning the wealth gap has it that the top 1 percent in the US own 42 percent of the wealth.
But a new paper from Brookings Institution has found that the chasm is smaller when using another method of measurement.
The Brookings study’s authors — including three Federal Reserve economists — took into account government benefits like Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps economically disadvantaged Americans receive when calculating income inequality. Those contributions, the report finds, increase the incomes of lower-income earners thereby shrinking the size of the wealth gap.
Using that methodology, the wealthiest 1 percent own 33 percent of overall wealth in the US.
What is the best way to calculate income disparity? Is it fair to include programs like Medicare into the calculation?
Aparna Mathur, a resident scholar in economic policy studies at the think tank American Enterprise Institute, where her research focuses on income inequality and mobility and other subjects
Christian Weller, a senior fellow at Center for American Progress, a DC-based policy institute. He is also a professor of public policy at the University of Massachusetts, Boston