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How do Labor Unions Influence the Gender Earnings Gap? A Comparative Study of the US and Korea


  • Donghun Cho
  • Joonmo Cho


This paper provides a comparative study of the United States and Korea regarding the effects of unions on gender earnings gaps in 2004. Using datasets representative of the population of the US and Korea, this contribution shows that gender differences in the workers' observed characteristics and the unobserved component reduce gender earnings gaps in union jobs in both the US and Korea. Fringe benefits in the union sector attract women workers with higher labor market qualifications into the union sector and thereby reduce the gender earnings gap in this sector. The study finds that this self-selection process in the union sector is stronger in Korea than in the US, but the seniority-based wage system that prevails in the Korean union sector widens the gender earnings gap.

Suggested Citation

  • Donghun Cho & Joonmo Cho, 2011. "How do Labor Unions Influence the Gender Earnings Gap? A Comparative Study of the US and Korea," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 133-157.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:17:y:2011:i:3:p:133-157
    DOI: 10.1080/13545701.2011.582472

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    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Cho, Joonmo & Lee, Tai & Jung, Hanna, 2014. "Glass ceiling in a stratified labor market: Evidence from Korea," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 56-70.
    2. Joanna Tyrowicz & Lucas van der Velde & Irene van Staveren, 2017. "Identifying Age Penalty in Women's Wages: New Method and Evidence from Germany 1984-2014," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 956, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    3. Hanna Jung & Joonmo Cho, 2016. "Quality of Jobs for Female Workers: A Comparative Study of South Korea and Australia," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 11(1), pages 1-22, March.
    4. Joonmo Cho & Jaeseong Lee, 2015. "Persistence of the Gender Gap and Low Employment of Female Workers in a Stratified Labor Market: Evidence from South Korea," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(9), pages 1-27, September.
    5. repec:bla:revinw:v:63:y:2017:i:1:p:118-146 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Blunch, Niels-Hugo, 2018. "Just Like A Woman? New Comparative Evidence on the Gender Income Gap across Eastern Europe and Central Asia," GLO Discussion Paper Series 211, Global Labor Organization (GLO).


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