As a sociologist and social demographer, I study how social inequalities are structured and experienced across individuals, families, countries, and time periods. My current research consists of three strands of work: 1) studies on gender dynamics in marriage and family, 2) studies on unequal life chances and lives of children, and 3) studies on marital formation, dissolution, and re-partnership in East Asia. Below, I describe each line of my research agenda in more detail and list published and working papers.

Gender Dynamics in Marriage and Family

My dissertation focuses on the causes and consequences of marriages in which wives have higher socioeconomic status than their husbands (i.e., female hypogamy). The first chapter examines how individual- and macro-level factors jointly shape cultural aversion to female hypogamy. Particularly, this chapter investigates whether and how men and women have different attitudes toward female hypogamy and under which circumstances the gender differences converge or diverge. The next chapter explores how being a female breadwinner is associated with women's health and well-being and whether and how the associations are moderated by societal cultural discomfort with female status-dominant marital relationships. Finally, the last chapter documents the changing relationships between couples' relative education and marital dissolution over the last two decades in a gender-traditional society.

  • Lee, Sangsoo. In progress. "Men's and women's aversion to female hypogamy in 53 countries: Linking individual attitudes to macro-level contexts"

  • Lee, Sangsoo. In progress. “Female breadwinners' health and well-being: How do individual gender attitudes and societal gender culture matter?

  • Lee, Sangsoo. In progress. “Trends in couples’ relative education and marital stability in South Korea.”

Unequal Life Chances and Lives of Children

This line of research seeks to understand how children's life chances are unequally shaped across families and societies in which they are situated. Especially, my research investigates how children's lives are gendered and stratified in diverse domains such as health behaviors (e.g., physical activity or meal skipping) and part-time paid work with cross-national data. This research suggests that families and macro-level societal contexts are important factors in making the lives of children. Another recent project studies how social inequalities are reproduced across generations by exploring the trends in advanced degree holding parents' financial investment in young children in the United States.

  • Lee, Sangsoo, and Youngshin Lim. 2022. “The gendered playing field: Family socioeconomic status and national gender inequality in adolescents’ out-of-school physical activity.Social Science & Medicine 305: 115062. (equal authorship) [link]

  • Lee, Sangsoo. In progress. "Social inequalities in adolescents' meal-skipping behaviors: Evidence from a cross-national study."

  • Cha, Yun, and Sangsoo Lee. In progress. "Trends in advanced degree holding parents' financial investment in young children in the United States, 1995-2019."

Marital Formation, Dissolution, and Re-Partnership in East Asia

I am interested in marital formation, dissolution, and re-partnership in societies with relatively conservative family norms compared to Western societies. My research shows that the association between spouses' marital histories (i.e., first-married vs. remarried) has declined over time across all educational groups, but crossing boundaries of marital history is most difficult among marriages in which both spouses are college-educated. Another research explores how divorced men's and women's remarriage intentions have changed over the past two decades, showing dramatic declines in divorced men's interests in remarriage. Lastly, a more recent study expands this line of research by incorporating the roles of couples' religious homogamy in understanding marital success.

  • Lee, Sangsoo, and Hyunjoon Park. 2021. "Trends and educational variation in the association between spouses' marital histories in South Korea, 1993-2017." Demographic Research 45: 857-870. [link]

  • Lee, Sangsoo, and Jaesung Choi. Forthcoming. "Gendered trends and patterns of attitudes toward remarriage among the divorced in South Korea." Population Research and Policy Review

  • Lee, Sangsoo, and Myoung-Jin Lee. Revise & Resubmit. "Always better together? Religious homogamy and marital satisfaction in South Korea."