Donghyun Park

Growing income inequality is a global concern.  While income disparities across countries have narrowed significantly over the past several decades—thanks to the robust economic growth achieved by many low- and middle-income economies—income gaps within countries, both advanced and developing, have widened. In developing Asia, inequality has increased generally since 1990. High inequality can “hollow out” the middle class, limiting the domestic market size. It can damage institutional quality as well—through possible elite capture, rent-seeking, and corruption associated with highly concentrated growth, dampening the poverty reduction impact of economic growth. What are the underlying causes of this inequality trend? In addition to globalization, market deregulation, and population aging, recent economic literature has focused on technological progress as the key contributing factor to rising inequality. In this era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, there are a variety of ways governments of Asia and the Pacific region can handle the increasing trend of inequality.