The Korean Economic Review
Social Consequences of Economic Segregation
Yoonseok Lee (Syracuse University), Donggyun Shin (Kyung Hee University) and Kwanho Shin (Korea University) Year 2013Vol. 29No. 1
The empirical literature has not been successful in generating robust results for a positiverelationship between income inequality and social unrest outcomes such as crime andsuicide. This paper questions the use of standard income inequality measures (e.g., Ginicoefficient) in such studies and shows that income-mobility-based measures are effective inexplaining outcomes of social unrest. Analyses of Korean and the United States region-byyeardata suggest that crime and suicide rates are better explained by income immobility(i.e., the degree of economic segregation) rather than the inequality aspects of incomedistribution. The explanatory power improves as a heavier weight is placed on the poorgroup's degree of immobility. Findings in the current study will be helpful for guidingfuture efforts to develop more effective measures of social unrest.