Are Women More Averse to Corruption than Men? The Case of South Korea


Lee, Aie‐Rie, and Kerry Chávez. 2020. “Are Women More Averse to Corruption than Men? The Case of South Korea.” Social Science Quarterly 101 (2): 473–89.

Authors: Aie-Rie Lee, Kerry Chavez


Objectives: Previous research asserts that women are less prone to corruption than men. It is not without contestation, leading to a complex corpus with mixed findings suggesting that perceptions might be context‐specific. This study investigates whether, how, and under or through what conditions gender impacts individual perceptions of corruption in South Korea, a case exemplifying "Asian exceptionalism."

Methods: Employing the World Values Survey and statistical regression techniques, we leverage a quasi‐experiment analyzing individual attitudes across all regime types in South Korea's recent history.

Results: Examining three types of corruption—state benefit fraud, tax evasion, and bribe‐taking—we find no significant differences until Korea democratizes, when we observe a surprising increase in the gap between perspectives.

Conclusions: Women's differential tolerance is mixed across types of corruption, implying that corruption is not a homogenous concept and that perceptions are conditioned by individual opportunities and constraints.

Topics: Corruption, Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Women, Governance Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: South Korea

Year: 2020

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