The author is grateful for comments from Naohiro Yashiro, Chia Siow Yue, Marcus Norland, Takatoshi Ito, Colin McKenzie, and other participants at the Asian Economic Policy Review Conference on September 29, 2007, where this paper was presented. He also gratefully acknowledges financial support from a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (no. [B]1214207), the 21st century COE program, and the Seimeikai.
Inequality in Japan*
Version of Record online: 6 MAY 2008
© 2008 The Author. Journal Compilation © 2008 Japan Center for Economic Research
Asian Economic Policy Review
Volume 3, Issue 1, pages 87–109, June 2008
How to Cite
OHTAKE, F. (2008), Inequality in Japan. Asian Economic Policy Review, 3: 87–109. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-3131.2008.00093.x
- Issue online: 6 MAY 2008
- Version of Record online: 6 MAY 2008
- attitudes towards income inequality;
- Gini coefficients;
- income inequality;
- income mobility;
- top income share
This paper analyzes income inequality, based on government income statistics and an attitude survey. First, the paper describes the present income inequality in Japan by using Gini coefficients, the income share of the top and bottom income classes, and mobilities among income classes. Second, by using the Japan–USA international survey, this paper analyzes the cause of the increasing awareness that Japan's income gap is widening. In these two countries, their distinct value judgments about the causes for the gap influence how they perceive it. The Japanese have negative perceptions about the income gap because they perceive it to be influenced by talent, academic background, or luck, and this perception seems relatively uncommon in the USA. A large percentage of Japanese also think one's income is decided by talent, academic background, or luck, although it should not be. Such disagreements between the desired and perceived determinants of income are thought to raise their negative perception of the gap.