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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. J Peter Neary, 2001. "Foreign Competition and Wage Inequality," Working Papers 200102, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  2. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Laura Hering & Sandra Poncet, 2010. "Market access and individual wages: evidence from China," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00633785, HAL.
  4. 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.
  5. Krugman, Paul, 2008. "Increasing returns," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 2008-3, Nobel Prize Committee.
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  8. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 295-316.
  9. Sandra E. Black & Elizabeth Brainerd, 2002. "Importing Equality? The Impact of Globalization on Gender Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 9110, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Brander, James A., 1981. "Intra-industry trade in identical commodities," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 1-14, February.
  11. Fally, Thibault & Paillacar, Rodrigo & Terra, Cristina, 2010. "Economic geography and wages in Brazil: Evidence from micro-data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 155-168, January.
  12. 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.
  13. Weber, Andrea & Zulehner, Christine, 2009. "Competition and Gender Prejudice: Are Discriminatory Employers Doomed to Fail?," IZA Discussion Papers 4526, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Sandra E. Black & Philip E. Strahan, 2001. "The Division of Spoils: Rent-Sharing and Discrimination in a Regulated Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 814-831, September.
  15. 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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