Inequality in Asia and the Pacific: Trends, drivers, and policy implications, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Inequality in Asia and the Pacific

Trends, drivers, and policy implications, 1st Edition

Edited by Ravi Kanbur, Changyong Rhee, Juzhong Zhuang


256 pages | 108 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2014-02-24
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Asia’s rapid economic growth has led to a significant reduction in extreme poverty, but accompanied by rising inequality. This book deals with three questions: What have been the trends of inequality in Asia and the Pacific? What are the key drivers of rising inequality in the region? How should Asian countries respond to the rising inequality?

Technological change, globalization, and market-oriented reform have been the key drivers of Asia’s remarkable growth and poverty reduction, but they have also had significant distribution consequences. These three drivers of growth cannot be hindered because they are the sources of productivity improvement and betterment of quality of life. This book will be useful to those interested in policy options that could be deployed by Asian countries in confronting rising inequality.


The Asia Pacific region has long been recognized for its stellar growth performance. Much of this exemplary record was in fact 'growth with equity', resulting in poverty reductions that were highly growth-elastic. In the past decade or more, however, while the economic dynamism has been maintained, inequality has been rising in most countries, and sharply in several of them. This encyclopaedic volume, featuring contributions from senior Asian Development Bank staff together with leading regional and global academics, is therefore highly topical and important. It carefully dissects the statistical trends, it provides an analytical and nuanced examination of the outcomes, and it offers a wide-ranging set of policy options to address the problems. A must-read volume for scholars, policy makers and anybody interested in Asia-Pacific development issues.’Hal Hill, Professor of Economics, Australian National University

‘Kanbur, Rhee and Zhuang will become a standard source for inequality in Asia and the Pacific. It contains a thorough review of the conceptual issues and the state of knowledge in general, and a great deal of useful detail and insight on particular countries and regions. It offers real value added in the practical battle against inequality.’L Alan Winters CB, Professor of Economics, CEO, Migrating Out of Poverty, Research Partnership Consortium, University of Sussex, Great Britain

Table of Contents

1. Introduction, Changyong Rhee, Juzhong Zhuang, and Ravi Kanbur Part A: Regional Overview and Synthesis 2. Asia’s Income Inequality: Recent trends, Changyong Rhee, Juzhong Zhuang, Ravi Kanbur and Dalisay Maligalig 3. What Drives Asia's Rising Inequality?, Changyong Rhee, Juzhong Zhuang, and Ravi Kanbur 4. Inequality of Human Opportunities in Developing Asia, Hyun H. Son 5. Confronting Asia's Rising Inequality: Policy options, Changyong Rhee, Juzhong Zhuang, Ravi Kanbur and Jesus Felipe Part B: Background Studies 6. Inclusive Growth and Gender Inequality in Asia's Labor Markets, Yan van der Meulen Rodgers and Joseph Zveglich, Jr. 7. Structural Change and Inequality: A conceptual overview with reference to developing Asia, Joshua Aizenman, Minsoo Lee, and Donghyun Park 8. Institutions and Economic Inequality in Asia: Disentangling policy and political structure, John V.C. Nye 9. Government Fiscal Policies and Redistribution in Asian Countries, Iris Claus, Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, and Violeta Vulovic 10. Commitment to Equity: A diagnostic framework to assess governments’ fiscal policies, Nora Lustig and Sean Higgins 11. Growth Policy/Strategy and Inequality in Developing Asia, Hyun-Hoon Lee, Minsoo Lee, and Donghyun Park 12. A Note on the Middle Class in Latin America, Nancy Birdsall 13. Urbanization and Inequality in Asia, Ravi Kanbur and Juzhong Zhuang 14. Inequality in Southeast Asia, Aekapol Chongvilaivan 15. Income Inequality and Redistributive Policy in the People’s Republic of China, Shi Li, Guanghua Wan, and Juzhong Zhuang 16. Drivers of Inequality in Pakistan, Talat Anwar 17. Accounting for Inequality in India: Evidence from Household Expenditures, J. Salcedo Cain, Rana Hasan, Rhoda Magsombol, and Ajay Tandon

About the Editors

Ravi Kanbur is T. H. Lee Professor of World Affairs, International Professor of Applied Economics and Management, and Professor of Economics at Cornell University. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Cambridge and a doctorate in economics from the University of Oxford. Dr. Kanbur has served on the staff of the World Bank and as Director of the World Bank's World Development Report.

Changyong Rhee is the Chief Economist of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). He is the chief spokesperson for ADB on economic and development trends, and oversees the Economics and Research Department, which publishes ADB’s flagship knowledge products. Dr. Rhee has over 20 years of professional experience as an economist, financial adviser, and academic. He was the Secretary General and Sherpa of the Presidential Committee for the 2010 G-20 Seoul Summit, as well as Vice Chairman of the Financial Services Commission (FSC) and Chairman of the Securities and Futures Commission of Korea. Dr. Rhee obtained his PhD in Economics from Harvard University, and his Bachelor degree in Economics from Seoul National University.

Juzhong Zhuang joined ADB in 1997 and is currently Deputy Chief Economist. His recent research focuses on various development issues in Asia, including growth, poverty and inequality, structural transformation, the economics of climate change, and the Chinese economy. From 1992–1997, he was a research officer of the Development Economics Research Program at the London School of Economics. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Manchester.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / General