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Gender wage inequality and export-led growth in South Korea


  • Stephanie Seguino


This article investigates the relationship between gender, wage inequality, and export-led growth in South Korea. The persistent gender wage gap in Korea's manufacturing sector is found to be linked to women's segregation in the country's major export industries where real wage growth has lagged productivity growth, despite favorable market conditions that might drive up women's wages relative to those of men. The interaction of state- and firm-level hiring, training, and promotion practices that structure women's and men's employment opportunities differently appear to have resulted in a relatively weaker fall-back position for women in labour markets. Econometric results are consistent with the hypothesis that women's weaker fall-back position limits their ability to bargain for wage increases commensurate with productivity growth. Further, evidence is presented which links gender wage inequality to the growth of Korean exports.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephanie Seguino, 1997. "Gender wage inequality and export-led growth in South Korea," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(2), pages 102-132.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:34:y:1997:i:2:p:102-132
    DOI: 10.1080/00220389708422513

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