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Distribution of consumption expenditure in East Asia


  • Jirasavetakul,La-Bhus Fah
  • Lakner,Christoph


Using a new database of household surveys, this paper examines inequality among all individuals living in developing East Asia regardless of their country of residence. The East Asian Gini index increased from 39.0 in 1988 to 43.3 in 2012. Inequality increased during the initial decade, regardless of the choice of inequality measure. The trend appears to have reversed in the mid-2000s. Regional inequality is now almost entirely explained by within-country differences, while gaps in average income across countries have become unimportant. This reversal has been driven by rising national inequality especially in populous countries, counteracted by catch-up growth in average incomes, particularly in China. Interpersonal differences in income at the regional level have thus become internalized within national boundaries.

Suggested Citation

  • Jirasavetakul,La-Bhus Fah & Lakner,Christoph, 2017. "Distribution of consumption expenditure in East Asia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7968, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:7968

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    Cited by:

    1. La-Bhus Fah Jirasavetakul & Christoph Lakner, 2020. "The Distribution of Consumption Expenditure in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Inequality Among All Africans," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 29(1), pages 1-25.


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