42 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016
Date Written: August 1, 2011
The authors analyze the interaction between a country's world market integration and its attitude towards gender roles. They discuss both theoretically and empirically how female empowerment is a source of comparative advantage that shapes a country's response to trade opening. Reciprocally, the authors show that as countries integrate into the world economy, the costs and benefits of gender discrimination shift. Their theory goes beyond a potential aggregate wealth effect associated with trade opening, and emphasizes the heterogeneity of impacts. On the one hand, countries in which women are empowered -- measured by fertility rates, female labor force participation or female schooling -- experience an expansion of industries that use female labor relatively more intensively. On the other hand, the gender gap is smaller in countries that export more in relatively female-labor intensive sectors. In an increasingly globalized economy, the road to gender equality is paradoxically very specific to each country?s productive structure and exposure to world markets.
Keywords: Labor Markets, Labor Policies, Gender and Development, Economic Theory & Research, Political Economy
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