Confronting income inequality in Japan: a comparative analysis of causes, consequences, and reform

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MIT Press, 2005 - Business & Economics - 239 pages
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Contrary to general belief, and to Japan's own self-image, inequality of income and wealth distribution in Japan has grown in the past two decades. In this well-written and accessible book, Toshiaki Tachibanaki analyzes the movement toward more income inequality in Japan and offers policy recommendations to counter the trend. Tachibanaki, Japan's leading expert on income distribution, draws on new statistical data covering wealth, inheritance, farm and business holdings, salary, and other relevant factors, to demonstrate that Japan can no longer be thought of as a "90 percent middle-class society."

The book, updated and substantially expanded from Tachibanaki's 1998 Japanese bestseller, discusses the history and the causes of Japan's increasing income inequality and analyzes the effect on wealth distribution of intergenerational transfer. Employing cross-national comparisons to the United States and Europe throughout, Confronting Income Inequality in Japan examines the contrast between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome, evaluates equality of opportunity in terms of education and occupation, analyzes the relationship between income distribution and income growth, discusses the role of hierarchical positions in organizations, and considers the differences between welfare states and nonwelfare states. Concluding with policy recommendations, Tachibanaki argues against the belief of some economists that greater inequality is unavoidable if Japan is to achieve a strong economic recovery.

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Contents

History of Income Distribution in Postwar Japan
43
Causes of Rising Inequality
87
Wealth Distribution and Intergenerational Transfers
127
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Toshiaki Tachibanaki is Professor of Economics at Kyoto University and Director of the Millennium Project on Aging at the Economic Planning Agency in Japan. He has been a visiting professor or fellow at INSEE (Paris), Stanford University, the London School of Economics, the International Monetary Fund, and other institutions.

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