Taste-Based Gender Discrimination in South Korea
This study is supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2017S1A52A03068895 and NRF-020S1A3A2A03096777).
Social Science Research
Among the countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, South Korea shows the worst female earnings disadvantage. Women's career disruption associated with marriage and childbearing is said to be the primary factor behind the huge female disadvantage in Korea. Recent studies, however, demonstrated that substantial female disadvantage appears prior to women's career disruption, even net of human capital covariates. In this study, we examine whether taste-based gender discrimination is a source of female earnings disadvantage. We use sex ratios of births across regions during the 1990s as a proxy of prejudice against women in current labor markets. Our empirical results show that female earnings disadvantages among 2009-2017 college graduates are larger in the regions where sex ratios of 1990-1999 newborns were higher. Our results are robust to the control of an extensive set of human capital variables, including concrete college names, detailed fields of study, high school types, and more. Depending on models, one-fourth to one-third of female earnings disadvantage is attributable to prejudice against women. Implications of these findings are discussed.
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Kim, C., & Oh, B. (2021). Taste-based gender discrimination in South Korea. Social Science Research, 102671.