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According to Saez and Zucman, the ultra-rich have had their taxes collapse to levels last seen in the 1920s. Meanwhile, working-class Americans have been asked to pay more. Their book presents a forensic investigation into this transformation, written by two economists who revolutionized the study of inequality. Saez and Zucman offer a comprehensive view of America’s tax system, based on new statistics covering all taxes paid at all levels of government. Their conclusion? For the first time in more than a century, billionaires now pay lower tax rates than their secretaries.

Join the Stigler Center for a conversation with UC Berkeley professor Emmanuel Saez and Chicago Booth professor Steven Kaplan on Saez’s new book, co-authored with Gabriel Zucman,The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay, which narrates the demise of US progressive taxation and how to reinvent it in the 21st century. The discussion will be moderated by Chicago Booth professor Luigi Zingales.

Emmanuel Saez is the Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Equitable Growth at the University of California Berkeley. He received his PhD in Economics from MIT in 1999. His research focuses on inequality and tax policy. Jointly with Thomas Piketty, he created the top income share series that show a dramatic increase in US inequality since 1980. The data have been widely discussed in the public debate. He received numerous academic awards, including the John Bates Clark medal of the American Economic Association in 2009, a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship in 2010, and an honorary degree from Harvard University in 2019.

Steven Kaplan conducts research on issues in private equity, venture capital, entrepreneurial finance, corporate governance and corporate finance. He has published papers in a number of academic and business journals. Kaplan is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and an associate editor of the Journal of Financial Economics. He ranks among the top 60 in paper downloads and in paper citations (out of over 280,000 authors) on SSRN (Social Science Research Network). He is the co-creator of the Kaplan-Schoar PME (Public Market Equivalent) private equity benchmarking approach. A Fortune magazine article referred to him as "probably the foremost private equity scholar in the galaxy.” Kaplan teaches advanced MBA and executive courses in entrepreneurial finance and private equity, corporate finance, corporate governance, and wealth management. BusinessWeek named him one of the top 12 business school teachers in the country. Kaplan also co-founded the entrepreneurship program at Booth. With his students, he helped start Booth’s business plan competition, the New Venture Challenge (NVC), which has spawned over two hundred companies that have raised almost $1 billion and created over $10 billion in value including GrubHub, Braintree/Venmo and Simple Mills. Kaplan serves on the boards of Morningstar, Zayo Group and the Illinois Venture Capital Association. He has been a member of the faculty since 1988.

Luigi Zingales (moderator) is the Robert C. McCormack Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance and the Charles M. Harper Faculty Fellow and Director of the Stigler Center at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. His research interests span from corporate governance to financial development, from political economy to the economic effects of culture. He has published extensively in the major economics and financial journals. He also wrote two best-selling books and recently launched the Capitalisn't podcast with Katherine Waldock from Georgetown University.

11:45 a.m. Registration 

12:00 p.m. Discussion and Q&A

1:00 p.m.  Adjournment and book signing

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The event will take place in Harper Center Room 104 (5807 S Woodlawn Ave).