10 novembre 2020
Ecrit par WID.world

What’s new about income inequality data in Asia?

What’s new about Income inequality data in Asia?

In this issue brief, Li Yang presents the evolution and decomposition of income inequality data in Asia for the period of 1993 to 2019, using the latest (preliminary) results from the simplified Asia Distributional National Account (DINA). The author finds an important decrease in Asian inequality over the past three decades at the regional level; while within individual countries, the author observes very different growth and inequality patterns.

Key Results

  • In Asia,  the top 10% captured 49% of national income in 2019, this shows a decrease in regional inequality since 1990, where the top 10% income share amounted to 57%.
  • While income inequality has substantially risen in India and China, in the early 1990s and 2000s, it stabilized in China while it continued to rise in India. This suggests that development and higher growth rates do not necessarily mean more equality in the distribution of growth. And shows,  that as a matter of fact, national economic policies do matter.
  • Within-country income inequality has been rising significantly in major emerging economies since 1990, while overall regional inequality in Asia has been decreasing. This trend suggests a great economic convergence among Asian economies.

Figure – Income inequality data in Asia

This figure shows the evolution of income shares in Asia for the top 1% vs. the bottom 50% from 1993 to 2019 as well as the top 10% vs. the middle 40% from 1993 to 2019 in 2019 PPP euros.

Income inequality data in Asia



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The author gratefully acknowledges funding from the European Research Council (MSCA Grant 799444 and ERC Grant 856455) from the French National Research Agency (EUR Grant ANR-17-EURE-0001), as well as from the United Nations Development Program (Project 00093806).