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Income versus Consumption Inequality in Korea: Evaluating Stochastic Dominance Rankings by Various Household Attributes

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Using four rounds (1999, 2002, 2005 and 2008) of the Korean Labor and Income Panel Study, the present paper examines determinants of household income and consumption levels and inequalities. Unconditional as well as conditional stochastic dominance tests are performed by year, by household heads’ characteristics (age, education, gender, health, marital status and occupation) and by household characteristics (household type, household size and degree of urbanization). Mean least squares regression techniques are used to predict conditional expectations. The residuals containing effects for each characteristic conditional on the remaining characteristics are then used for the stochastic dominance analysis employing extended Kolmogorov–Smirnov tests of first‐order and second‐order dominance in distribution of income and consumption. The results provide a detailed and up‐to‐date picture of inequality and poverty by subgroup in Korea, which helps in targeting particularly vulnerable groups. While inequality in disposable income is found to be substantial, consumption inequality is less substantial. Households headed by the elderly, the uneducated, the divorced, the widowed, females, and those with health problems are found to be the most vulnerable groups.
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Keywords: C14; D31; D63; I31; Korea; bootstrap; consumption inequality; disposable income; poverty; stochastic dominance

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2014

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