Comparative Advantage, International Trade, and Fertility

56 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2015

See all articles by Quy-Toan Do

Quy-Toan Do

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Andrei A. Levchenko

University of Michigan - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Claudio E. Raddatz

Central Bank of Chile; World Bank

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Date Written: October 2015

Abstract

We analyze theoretically and empirically the impact of comparative advantage in international trade on fertility. We build a model in which industries differ in the extent to which they use female relative to male labor, and countries are characterized by Ricardian comparative advantage in either female-labor or male-labor intensive goods. The main prediction of the model is that countries with comparative advantage in female-labor intensive goods are characterized by lower fertility. This is because female wages, and therefore the opportunity cost of children are higher in those countries. We demonstrate empirically that countries with comparative advantage in industries employing primarily women exhibit lower fertility. We use a geography-based instrument for trade patterns to isolate the causal effect of comparative advantage on fertility.

Suggested Citation

Do, Quy Toan and Levchenko, Andrei A. and Raddatz, Claudio E., Comparative Advantage, International Trade, and Fertility (October 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w21677. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2684961

Quy Toan Do (Contact Author)

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

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Andrei A. Levchenko

University of Michigan - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

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Claudio E. Raddatz

Central Bank of Chile ( email )

United States

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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