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Gender and Pay in Taiwan

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image of International Journal of Comparative Sociology
For more content, see Comparative Sociology.

In Taiwan as in the United States, even in the same industry and work status there is an earnings gap between men and women. The same question concerning attitudes toward "equal pay for equal work" was asked of two independently-drawn samples of male Taiwanese living in Taipei, the first time in 1963, and again in 1991. While 68% favored equal pay in 1963, this percent did not change significantly in the 1991 sample, despite 28 years of rapid and massive economic development and societal modernization. The respondents used a similar repertory of "reasons why" they supported or opposed equal pay for women in 1963 and 1991. To explain why the majority favored, but a minority opposed, equal pay, this attitude was regressed on three sets of hypothesized causal variables: a person's objective status, subjective life chances, and involvement in the kinship system. The logistic regression analysis shows that the variables with a significant impact on the log odds of a man's favoring equal pay for women were largely different in 1991 as compared with 1963. We discuss the implications of the findings in the light of neoclassical economic theories of gender differences in human capital investment and statistical discrimination, sociological theories of job segregation and the structure of labor markets, and feminist theories of patriarchy.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, Box 1916, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, U.S.A.


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