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Gender Wage Discrimination and Trade Openness

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  • Sarra Ben Yahmed

    ()
    (Aix-Marseille University (Aix-Marseille School of Economics), CNRS & EHESS.)

Abstract

International trade has been expected to reduce the gender wage gap by increasing competition and thus reducing the rents that allow employers to discriminate. However, some empirical assessments find an opposite effect. We provide an explanation for the puzzling result that trade openness widens the gender wage gap under certain circumstances. This paper introduces employer taste discrimination in an open economy model with imperfect competition to shed light on the heterogeneous impacts of openness on the gender wage gap. Firms operate in an oligopoly where and prejudiced employers can use their rents to pay men a premium, in line with Becker’s theory. Penetration of foreign products in the domestic market triggers a surge in competition thus heightening incentives to reduce costs differences which reduces the wage gap. However, an easier access to foreign markets is an opportunity for domestic firms to enhance profits. The model determines under which conditions new export opportunities enable discriminatory firms to maintain their discretionary expenditures. The theoretical predictions are confronted with data for Uruguayan manufacturing sectors that experienced a sharp liberalization of trade in the 1990s. Market access of Uruguayan firms as well as competitors’ access to the Uruguayan market, computed at the industry level, are used for the first time to assess the impact of trade openness on the gender wage gap in a specification inspired by the theory.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France in its series AMSE Working Papers with number 1233.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aim:wpaimx:1233

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Web page: http://www.amse-aixmarseille.fr/en
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Keywords: Gender wage gap; Employer taste Discrimination; Trade Openness; Imperfect.Competition.;

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  1. Laura Hering & Sandra Poncet, 2010. "Market Access and Individual Wages: Evidence from China," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(1), pages 145-159, February.
  2. Redding, Stephen J & Venables, Anthony J., 2000. "Economic Geography and International Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 2568, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Black, Sandra & Brainerd, Elizabeth, 2002. "Importing Equality? The Impact of Globalization on Gender Discrimination," CEPR Discussion Papers 3532, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. J Peter Neary, 2001. "Foreign Competition and Wage Inequality," Working Papers 200102, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
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  8. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Mayer, Thierry & Paillacar, Rodrigo & Zignago, Soledad, 2008. "TradeProd. The CEPII Trade, Production and Bilateral Protection Database: Explanatory Notes," MPRA Paper 26477, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  11. Andrea Weber & Christine Zulehner, 2009. "Competition and Gender Prejudice: Are Discriminatory Employers Doomed to Fail?," NRN working papers 2009-26, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  12. Krugman, Paul, 2008. "Increasing returns," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 2008-3, Nobel Prize Committee.
  13. Brander, James A., 1981. "Intra-industry trade in identical commodities," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 1-14, February.
  14. G¸nseli Berik & Yana van der Meulen Rodgers & Joseph E. Zveglich, 2004. "International Trade and Gender Wage Discrimination: Evidence from East Asia," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(2), pages 237-254, 05.
  15. Menon, Nidhiya & Rodgers, Yana van der Meulen, 2009. "International Trade and the Gender Wage Gap: New Evidence from India's Manufacturing Sector," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 965-981, May.
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