Gender inequality in earnings in industrialized East Asia

Chin Fen Chang, Paula England

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using data from the 2006 Family Module of the East Asian Social Survey, we use regression-based methods to decompose the sex gap in hourly wages in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. We find that Taiwan has the smallest sex gap in wages, and is also distinctive in that employed women have more education than men, on average. Japan is distinctive in the high proportion of women consigned to non-regular (temporary, often part-time) jobs, and this factor explains much more of the gap in Japan than elsewhere. Korea is distinctive in having an extremely high proportion of men who are college graduates; therefore, in Korea gender differences in education and occupational placement explain more of the gap than elsewhere. Despite many historical similarities between these societies, our analysis points out the heterogeneity within industrialized East Asia when it comes to gender inequality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • East Asia
  • Gender inequality
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Labor markets
  • Sex gap in pay
  • Taiwan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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