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Did Trade Liberalization Help Women? The Case of Mexico in the 1990s

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  • Ernesto Aguayo-Tellez
  • Jim Airola
  • Chinhui Juhn

Abstract

With the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, Mexico entered a bilateral free trade agreement which not only lowered its own tariffs on imports but also lowered tariffs on its exports to the U.S. We find that women’s relative wage increased, particularly during the period of liberalization. Both between and within-industry shifts also favored female workers. With regards to between-industry shifts, tariff reductions expanded sectors which were initially female intensive. With regards to within-industry shifts, we find a positive association between reductions in export tariffs (U.S. tariffs on Mexican goods) and hiring of women in skilled blue-collar occupations. Finally, we find suggestive evidence that household bargaining power shifted in favor of women. Expenditures shifted from goods associated with male preference, such as men’s clothing and tobacco and alcohol, to those associated with female preference such as women’s clothing and education.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16195.

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Date of creation: Jul 2010
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Publication status: published as “Did Trade Liberalization Help Women? The Case of Mexico in the 1990s,” (with Jim Airola, Ernesto Aguayo, and Carolina Villegas-Sanchez), Research in Labor Economics, forthcoming.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16195

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  1. Petia Topalova, 2007. "Trade Liberalization, Poverty and Inequality: Evidence from Indian Districts," NBER Chapters, in: Globalization and Poverty, pages 291-336 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  4. Remco H. Oostendorp, 2009. "Globalization and the Gender Wage Gap," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 23(1), pages 141-161, January.
  5. Esther Duflo, 2003. "Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old-Age Pensions and Intrahousehold Allocation in South Africa," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 1-25, June.
  6. Jim Airola & Chinhui Juhn, 2008. "Wage Inequality in Post-Reform Mexico," Journal of Income Distribution, Journal of Income Distribution, vol. 17(1), pages 110-134, March.
  7. Qian, Nancy, 2006. "Missing Women and the Price of Tea in China: The Effect of Sex-Specific Earnings on Sex Imbalance," CEPR Discussion Papers 5986, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Black, Sandra & Brainerd, Elizabeth, 2002. "Importing Equality? The Impact of Globalization on Gender Discrimination," CEPR Discussion Papers 3532, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Gustavo J. Bobonis, 2009. "Is the Allocation of Resources within the Household Efficient? New Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(3), pages 453-503, 06.
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Cited by:
  1. Silvio Contessi & Francesca de Nicola, 2012. "What do we know about the relationship between access to finance and international trade?," Working Papers 2012-054, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  2. Anukriti, S & Kumler, Todd J., 2014. "Tariffs, Social Status, and Gender in India," IZA Discussion Papers 7969, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Gaddis, Isis & Pieters, Janneke, 2012. "Trade Liberalization and Female Labor Force Participation: Evidence from Brazil," IZA Discussion Papers 6809, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Chinhui Juhn & Gergely Ujhelyi & Carolina Villegas-Sanchez, 2013. "Men, Women, and Machines: How Trade Impacts Gender Inequality," Working Papers 201303234, Department of Economics, University of Houston.
  5. Niklas Potrafke & Heinrich Ursprung, 2011. "Globalization and Gender Equality in Developing Countries," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2011-33, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
  6. Gurleen Popli, 2008. "Gender wage discrimination in Mexico: A distributional approach," Working Papers 2008006, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2008.
  7. Quy-Toan Do & Andrei A. Levchenko & Claudio Raddatz, . "Comparative Advantage, International Trade, and Fertility," Working Papers 624, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  8. Potrafke, Niklas & Ursprung, Heinrich W., 2012. "Globalization and gender equality in the course of development," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 399-413.
  9. Fischer, Justina A.V., 2014. "Globalized markets, globalized information, and female employment: accounting for regional differences in 30 OECD countries," MPRA Paper 55142, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Silvio Contessi & Francesca de Nicola & Li Li, 2012. "International trade, female labor, and entrepreneurship in MENA countries," Working Papers 2012-053, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  11. Garduno-Rivera, Rafael & Baylis, Katherine R., 2012. "Effect of Tariff Liberalization on Mexico’s Income Distribution in the presence of Migration," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124740, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  12. Do, Quy-Toan & Levchenko, Andrei A. & Raddatz, Claudio, 2011. "Engendering trade," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5777, The World Bank.
  13. Lopez-Acevedo, Gladys & Robertson, Raymond, 2012. "The Promise and Peril of Post-MFA Apparel Production," World Bank - Economic Premise, The World Bank, issue 84, pages 1-4, May.
  14. Winters, L. Alan, 2014. "Globalization, Infrastructure, and Inclusive Growth," ADBI Working Papers 464, Asian Development Bank Institute.

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