HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Professor of the Practice of Public Policy, HKS; Professor of the Practice of Economics, FAS


South Korea’s gender wage and employment gaps are among the largest in the OECD. Using labour force survey data over 2010–19, we estimate gender wage and employment gaps, and child earnings penalties, for women aged 25–54. We show (i) that the large gender gaps in South Korea’s labour market are mostly not a function of differential sorting by gender along education, occupation, or industry lines, (ii) that caring for children (and, perhaps increasingly, for the elderly) is the major factor inhibiting women’s labour force participation, and (iii) that large gender wage gaps exist even for women without care responsibilities. These findings suggest that improving opportunities for work–family balance is crucial to helping increase women’s labour force participation, but may do little to close gender wage gaps: other major obstacles also appear to stand in the way of Korean women’s full inclusion in the labour force.


Stansbury, Anna, Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, and Karen Dynan. "Gender gaps in South Korea’s labour market: children explain most of the gender employment gap, but little of the gender wage gap." Applied Economics Letters (May 3, 2023).