Inequality in Asia and the Pacific

Publication | April 2014

Technological change, globalization, and market-oriented reform have been the key drivers of Asia’s remarkable growth and poverty reduction, as they are the sources of productivity improvement in the quality of life. 

This book deals with the trends and key drivers of inequality in Asia and the Pacific, and how Asian countries should respond to it.

Asia’s rapid economic growth has led to a significant reduction in extreme poverty, but accompanied by rising inequality. This book deals with three questions:

• What have been the trends of inequality in Asia and the Pacific?
• What are the key drivers of rising inequality in the region?
• How should Asian countries respond to the rising inequality?

Technological change, globalization, and market-oriented reform have been the key drivers of Asia’s remarkable growth and poverty reduction, but they have also had significant distribution consequences. These three drivers of growth cannot be hindered because they are the sources of productivity improvement and betterment of quality of life. This book will be useful to those interested in policy options that could be deployed by Asian countries in confronting rising inequality.


  • Introduction - Ravi Kanbur, Changyong Rhee, and Juzhong Zhuang 
  • Part A: Regional Overview and Synthesis
    • Asia’s Income Inequality: Recent Trends - Juzhong Zhuang, Ravi Kanbur, and Dalisay Maligalig
    • What Drives Asia's Rising Inequality? - Juzhong Zhuang, Ravi Kanbur, and Changyong Rhee
    • Inequality of Human Opportunities in Developing Asia - Hyun H. Son
    • Confronting Asia's Rising Inequality: Policy options - Changyong Rhee, Juzhong Zhuang, Ravi Kanbur and Jesus Felipe
  • Part B: Background Studies
    • Inclusive Growth and Gender Inequality in Asia's Labor Markets - Yan van der Meulen Rodgers and Joseph Zveglich, Jr.
    • Structural Change and Inequality: A conceptual overview with reference to developing Asia - Joshua Aizenman, Minsoo Lee, and Donghyun Park
    • Institutions and Economic Inequality in Asia: Disentangling policy and political structure - John V.C. Nye
    • Government Fiscal Policies and Redistribution in Asian Countries - Iris Claus, Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, and Violeta Vulovic
    • Commitment to Equity: A diagnostic framework to assess governments’ fiscal policies - Nora Lustig and Sean Higgins
    • Growth Policy/Strategy and Inequality in Developing Asia - Hyun-Hoon Lee, Minsoo Lee, and Donghyun Park
    • A Note on the Middle Class in Latin America - Nancy Birdsall
    • Urbanization and Inequality in Asia - Ravi Kanbur and Juzhong Zhuang
    • Inequality in Southeast AsiavAekapol Chongvilaivan
    • Income Inequality and Redistributive Policy in the People’s Republic of China - Shi Li, Guanghua Wan, and Juzhong Zhuang
    • Drivers of Inequality in PakistanvTalat Anwar
    • Accounting for Inequality in India: Evidence from Household Expenditures - J. Salcedo Cain, Rana Hasan, Rhoda Magsombol, and Ajay Tandon

Additional Details

  • Economics
  • Education
  • Gender Equality
  • Governance and public sector management
  • Public financial management
  • Health
  • Poverty
  • Inclusive growth
  • Social development and protection
  • Social protection - labor and employment
  • Urban development
  • Cambodia
  • China, People's Republic of
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Korea, Republic of
  • Lao People's Democratic Republic
  • Malaysia
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Thailand
  • Viet Nam
  • 434
  • 6 x 9
  • BKK124930-2
  • 978-0-415-82865-9 (print)
  • 978-1-315-88373-1 (electronic)

Subscribe to our monthly digest of latest ADB publications.

Follow ADB Publications on social media.