The Peterson Institute for International Economics analyzed the Forbes World's Billionaires lists for 1996 to 2015 and said on March 14 that the ratio of those who have at least US$1 billion in inheritance to all the billionaires was 74.1% in South Korea in 2014 while the world average was 30.4%.
The ratio amounted to 100% in Kuwait and Finland, 83.3% in Denmark and 75% in the United Arab Emirates.
The ratio was as low as 2% in China and 18.5% in Japan. The United States recorded 28.9% and 25 European countries recorded an average of 35.8%. It was 72.7% for Switzerland, 64.7% for Germany, 0% for Russia, 37.5% for Singapore, 33.9% for India, 33.3% for Hong Kong, 17.9% for Taiwan and 10.5% for Indonesia.
In analyzing the report, the institute divided billionaires into inherited and self-made ones and then divided the self-made ones into corporate founders, owners & executives, those with political connections or having to do with natural resources, and those working in the financial industry. In South Korea, 25.9% were self-made billionaires and corporate founders represented 18.5 percentage points while owners & executives and financiers each accounted for 3.7%.
The institute pointed out that the ratio of self-made billionaires is on the increase and that of inherited ones is on the decline in developed and emerging economies alike. The former ratio went up from 44.7% to 58.1% between 1996 and 2001 and reached 69.6% in 2014. 30.2% of the world’s billionaires were American in 2014 and they were followed by European (28.4%), Chinese (9.2%), Japanese (1.6%) and South Korean (1.6%). The number of South Korean billionaires increased from seven to 11 between 1996 and 2010 and then to 30 last year although it dropped to three in 2005.