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Economic Crisis and Consumer Debt in South Korea
Unformatted Document Text:  <Table 6> Increasing rates of nominal income (%) 1997 1998 1999 Upper 20% 20.9 5.6 3.7 20~40% 26.6 -3.3 -1.3 40~60% 4.5 -3.6 -2.3 60~80% -9.9 -6.4 -3.6 Low 20% -8.2 -10.3 -8.4 Source: Jung & Nam(1999), p. 95. This means that not only was the burden of the economic crisis shared unfairly as a whole, but also the difficulties of the low class were much more serious. Such reduction in income was in fact the primary reason why common people should extend their debts rapidly. Lack of social welfare system With the fall of income, Korea’s weak welfare system was one of the direct reasons for the increase of the individual’s cash advances. Despite the fact that the real income was cut down due to instability of the labor market, there had been few social safety nets and social welfare systems that could supplement such income reduction by the government. In this situation, the burden of the economic crisis was imposed unilaterally on the low class. The weak welfare system failed to mitigate the low-income class’ economic problems. Korean government could 14

Authors: Kim, Soon.
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<Table 6> Increasing rates of nominal income (%)
1997
1998
1999
Upper 20%
20.9
5.6
3.7
20~40%
26.6
-3.3
-1.3
40~60%
4.5
-3.6
-2.3
60~80%
-9.9
-6.4
-3.6
Low 20%
-8.2
-10.3
-8.4
Source: Jung & Nam(1999), p. 95.
This means that not only was the burden of the economic crisis shared unfairly as a
whole, but also the difficulties of the low class were much more serious. Such reduction in
income was in fact the primary reason why common people should extend their debts rapidly.
Lack of social welfare system
With the fall of income, Korea’s weak welfare system was one of the direct reasons for
the increase of the individual’s cash advances. Despite the fact that the real income was cut down
due to instability of the labor market, there had been few social safety nets and social welfare
systems that could supplement such income reduction by the government. In this situation, the
burden of the economic crisis was imposed unilaterally on the low class. The weak welfare
system failed to mitigate the low-income class’ economic problems. Korean government could
14


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