Market Openness and Culture as Factors that Shape the Gender Gap: a Comparative Study of Urban Latin America and East Asia (1960-2000)
In this paper we present: 1. The available data on comparative gender inequality at the macroeconomic level and 2. Gender inequality measures at the microeconomic and case study level. We see that market openness has a significant effect on the narrowing of the human capital gender gap. Globalization and market openness stand as factors that improve both the human capital endowments of women and their economic position. But we also see that the effects of culture and religious beliefs are very different. While Catholicism has a statistically significant influence on the improvement of the human capital gender gap, Muslim and Buddhist religious beliefs have the opposite effect and increase human capital gender differences. In the second global era, some Catholic Latin American countries benefited from market openness in terms of the human capital and income gender gap, whereas we find the opposite impact in Buddhist and Muslim countries like China and South Korea where women's economic position has worsened both in terms of human capital and wage inequality.
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