Korea: poverty in a tiger country

Article · January 1996with 71 Reads
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This chapter begins with a summary of the major findings from poverty studies of the past two decades, especially those marking the cut-off poverty line and the incidence of absolute and relative poverty by various measures. A wide variation in the estimated measures considered here is attributed to both the theoretical definitions of estimating poverty and problems in using statistical data. The authors attempt to deal with these problems separately, although they are often interrelated. Rapid economic growth during the past 30 yr in Korea has alleviated poverty to a great extent. Yet there remain many pockets of absolute and relative poverty in Korea, for which comprehensive policy measures need to be adopted. Such neglect represents a research and academic failure as much as the administrative and managerial failure of poverty alleviation efforts.

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    This article presents a case study of income redistribution in South Korea. By analysing the most comprehensive household income survey (National Survey of Family Income and Expenditure), it identifies a growing sign of change regarding the extent to which social security is beginning to play an important role in reducing income inequality. Nonetheless, it argues that its impact is yet to be sizeable enough to make a significant difference and, still further, that social security is of little use in terms of mitigating increasing inequality of original incomes which comprise the largest part of gross income.
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