Importing Equality? The Impact of Globalization on Gender Discrimination

37 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2002 Last revised: 12 Jul 2014

See all articles by Sandra E. Black

Sandra E. Black

University of Texas at Austin - Center for Law, Business, and Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics

Elizabeth Brainerd

Brandeis University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 4 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 2002

Abstract

While researchers have long held that discrimination cannot endure in an increasingly competitive environment, there has been little work testing this dynamic process. This paper tests the hypothesis (based on Becker 1957) that increased competition resulting from globalization in the 1980s forced employers to reduce costly discrimination against women. The empirical strategy exploits differences in market structure across industries to identify the impact of trade on the gender wage gap: because concentrated industries face little competitive pressure to reduce discrimination, an increase in competition from increased trade should lead to a reduction in the gender wage gap. We compare the change in the residual gender wage gap between 1976 and 1993 in concentrated versus competitive manufacturing industries, using the latter as a control for changes in the gender wage gap that are unrelated to competitive pressures. We find that increased competition through trade did contribute to the relative improvement in female wages in concentrated relative to competitive industries, suggesting that, at least in this sense, trade may benefit women by reducing firms' ability to discriminate.

Suggested Citation

Black, Sandra E. and Brainerd, Elizabeth, Importing Equality? The Impact of Globalization on Gender Discrimination (August 2002). NBER Working Paper No. w9110. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=324052

Sandra E. Black (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Austin - Center for Law, Business, and Economics ( email )

Austin, TX
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics

Helleveien 30
N-5035 Bergen
Norway

Elizabeth Brainerd

Brandeis University - Department of Economics ( email )

Waltham, MA 02454-9110
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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