A Comparative Study of Gender Inequality: Occupational segregation in Japan and Korea

Author Name YOUM Yoosik (Visiting Fellow, RIETI) / YAMAGUCHI Kazuo (Visiting Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. November 2019 19-E-093
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Gender occupational segregation, or the concentration of women in low-wage occupations, is known as one of the most important sources of gender inequality in the labor market. However, it has rarely been closely examined in both Japan and Korea. We analyze gender occupational segregation and its effects on the wage gap in Japan and Korea. The main data set for Japan is the Social Stratification and Social Mobility Survey of 2005 (SSM 2005) and we use the Korean Labor & Income Panel Study (KLIPS) from year 2009 to 2017 for the analyses of Korea. By using two types of counter-factual decomposition methods (Yamaguchi 2017), we reveal that most of the gender occupational segregation cannot be explained through gender disparities in human capital. In fact, gender occupational segregation increases as human capital is equalized across gender in both countries: this is known as occupational segregation paradox. Women are doubly disadvantaged in both countries, through intra-occupational wage gaps and inter-occupational wage gaps. However, the relative magnitude of the two disadvantages is different in the two countries. In general, Korea shows greater intra-occupational gaps than Japan, which means that women with the same qualifications are paid less than men within the same occupation. However, inter-occupational gaps, meaning women's under-representation in high-wage occupations, are larger in Japan.