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By Danny M. Leipziger, David Dollar

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Taxation of Income and Wealth Korea's tax system is a generally efficient one, capable of raising revenue, and at least by design, providing some progressivity. The tax structure, it is fair to say, takes as its primary objective the raising of revenue rather than the redistribution of income. Nevertheless, by initial design, and with reforms such as those recommended by the Commission on Tax Reform 1985,3 it has taken the objectives of horizontal and vertical equity as functional principles. It is therefore a valid concern of policymakers to investigate how well these objectives are being met.

1a. b. Relative poverty line defined as one-third of average household income. Source: Suh (1985). Page 8 KDI for the period 19651980. The poverty line for 1981 was extrapolated backward through time, controlling for general inflation, to produce the estimates. 9 percent. 8 percent in 1980. Note that by 1980 the poverty rate was similar for rural and urban sectors. " This measure is the percent of households with incomes below one-third of the average level of household income. This is another way of measuring the skewness in the income distribution.

For Korea, the data cover the period 19531985. 2 The countries are listed in descending order of consumption level at the beginning of the period. 18 (Italy) times as much consumption per capita as Korea in 1963. Middle-income countries had two to three times as much. Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Taiwan, China, all had modestly more consumption for each person; only Pakistan was somewhat below Korea's level. Figure 1-1 Per Capita GDP and Consumption, 19531985 Source: Summers and Heston (1988).

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