According to the Economist article on the South Korean Women vs the Patriarchy, the average South Korean woman makes two-thirds the wage of the average man. Even though statistical discrimination is illegal (via the Equal Employment Act in 2018), a bank group of male executives at Kookmin bank manipulated recruitment scores in lowering women’s scores, while raising men’s scores. Ideally, they would secure more men hires. Because this is illegal, they were taken to court, but the bank was fined only $4,500. The hiring directors claimed that they were making a rational, statistical decision because of women’s higher chance of career disruption and their perception that the employment of men would benefit the firm in the long run. This is clearly an example of taste discrimination. Even when the productivity of a woman is fully revealed, the majority of firms like this banking company still discriminate.
Though South Korean women face all three types of discrimination (employer, employee, customer), in this case, employer discrimination is the clearest. They clearly exhibit discrimination, because their treatment of female vs male workers has nothing to do with productivity in the hiring process. The only difference is their gender that makes these executives manipulate productivity so that they can hire men instead. The cost of having female workers is only Wf, but the firm feels like they are paying Wf+d, so instead, they hire men where Wm < Wf + d. At the basic level Wm* = Wf* + d showcases this wage gap. This cannot be easily solved by competition because of the pervasiveness of social and cultural norms that South Korean women should stay home and that they should (statistical discrimination) leave the workforce once married or when they have children. We can also consider how South Korean women also face employee discrimination. Because of the same socio-cultural norms, many men don’t like working with women. So men feel like they are paid Wm-d. For customer discrimination, this is likely very present in fields like this banking example. Because customers feel like they are paying p+d, they will seek other companies with men or other workers that are men at the bank to feel like they are getting their money’s worth. All of which work against the South Korean woman with the employer’s discrimination being the most prominent (and able to be observed) in the hiring process, employee’s discrimination creating an unwelcoming environment, and customer’s discrimination further hurting women’s performance– all of which work to worsen these different types of taste discrimination.