The Korean Economic Forum
Top Income Shares in Korea: The Update, 1933-2016
Nak Nyeon Kim (Dongguk University)Year 2018Vol. 11No. 1
This study updates Korea’s top income shares in the World Wealth andIncome Database until 2016. In the meantime, the national account statisticswere revised in accordance with the SNA in 2008 and income tax data havebecome more substantial, including information on tax exemptions. A newinterpolation method of income statistics by interval called GPC was proposed.Top income shares are updated to reflect these changes in data and method.Some interesting findings are as follows. Since the mid-1990s, the sharp rise inincome concentration has been somewhat moderated. What is noteworthy is thatinequality in earned income has been improved since 2010. This is because theincome of workers in the bottom 50% has risen faster than the top 10%. On theother hand, the concentration of income other than earned income, which ismainly composed of business income and financial income, is weaker thanbefore but continues to rise. As a result, the concentration of total incomestagnated in the first half of the 2010s, but recently turned to increase, becausethe increase in income concentration other than earned income has been fasterthan the fall in concentration of earned income.