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Taking gender differences in bargaining power seriously: Equity, labor standards, and living wages

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  • Seguino, Stephanie

Abstract

Expanding women’s outside options, including paid work at living wages, is a mechanism for improving their well-being. But in developing countries, the dual phenomenon of women’s segregation in export industries and increased firm mobility constrain women’s ability to improve their wages, work conditions, and to bargain for more secure jobs. Efforts to bargain for higher compensation can lead to employment losses, if firms relocate to lower wage sites. These structural factors, rather than gender gaps in education, are largely responsible for persistent wage inequality. The World Bank views trade and market liberalization as unambiguously beneficial mechanisms to improve women’s relative status, but this view must be questioned in light of the structural conditions faced in labor markets. Since outside income has been shown to improve gender equity, what can be done to raise women's relative wages and improve labor standards while avoiding negative effects on output and employment? This paper seeks to answer that question, and considers the macro level policies that might be pursued in order to overcome structural impediments to gender wage equity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 6508.

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Date of creation: Feb 2003
Date of revision: Oct 2003
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:6508

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Related research

Keywords: labor standards; wages; international trade;

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References

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  1. Kucera, David & Milberg, William, 2000. "Gender Segregation and Gender Bias in Manufacturing Trade Expansion: Revisiting the "Wood Asymmetry"," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(7), pages 1191-1210, July.
  2. Zhao, Laixun, 1998. "The Impact of Foreign Direct Investment on Wages and Employment," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(2), pages 284-301, April.
  3. Gerald Epstein, 2000. "Threat Effects and the Impact of Capital Mobility on Wages and Public Finances: Developing a Research Agenda," Working Papers wp7, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  4. David KUCERA, 2002. "Core labour standards and foreign direct investment," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 141(1-2), pages 31-69, 03.
  5. Dani Rodrik, 1997. "Has Globalization Gone Too Far?," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 57.
  6. Rama, Martin, 1996. "The consequences of doubling the minimum wage : the case of Indonesia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1643, The World Bank.
  7. Blecker, Robert A & Seguino, Stephanie, 2002. "Macroeconomic Effects of Reducing Gender Wage Inequality in an Export-Oriented, Semi-industrialized Economy," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(1), pages 103-19, February.
  8. Stephanie Seguino & Maria Sagrario Floro, 2003. "Does Gender have any Effect on Aggregate Saving? An empirical analysis," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(2), pages 147-166.
  9. Marilyn Power, 1999. "Parasitic-Industries Analysis and Arguments for a Living Wage for Women in the Early Twentieth-Century United States," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(1), pages 61-78.
  10. Elissa Braunstein & Gerald Epstein, 2002. "Bargaining Power and Foreign Direct Investment in China: Can 1.3 Billion Consumers Tame the Multinationals?," SCEPA working paper series. SCEPA's main areas of research are macroeconomic policy, inequality and poverty, and globalization. 2002-13, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA), The New School.
  11. Drusilla K. Brown & Alan V. Deardorff & Robert M. Stern, 2001. "Labor Standards: Where Do They Belong on the International Trade Agenda?," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0113, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  12. James Heintz, 2002. "Global Labor Standards: Their Impact and Implementation," Working Papers wp46, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  13. Gunseli Berik, 2000. "Mature Export-Led Growth and Gender Wage Inequality in Taiwan," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 1-26.
  14. Seguino, Stephanie, 2007. "Is more mobility good?: Firm mobility and the low wage-low productivity trap," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 27-51, March.
  15. Sandra E. Black & Elizabeth Brainerd, 1999. "Importing equality? The effects of increased competition on the gender wage gap," Staff Reports 74, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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Cited by:
  1. Günseli Berik & Yana van der Meulen Rodgers, 2008. "Options for Enforcing Labor Standards: Lessons from Bangladesh and Cambodia," Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, University of Utah 2008_14, University of Utah, Department of Economics.
  2. Stephanie Seguino, 2008. "Gender, Distribution, and Balance of Payments (revised 10/08)," Working Papers wp133_revised, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

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