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

In: New Analyses of Worker Well-Being

Author

Listed:
  • Ernesto Aguayo-Tellez
  • Jim Airola
  • Chinhui Juhn
  • Carolina Villegas-Sanchez

Abstract

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 United States. 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 that 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ernesto Aguayo-Tellez & Jim Airola & Chinhui Juhn & Carolina Villegas-Sanchez, 2014. "Did Trade Liberalization Help Women? the Case of Mexico in the 1990s," Research in Labor Economics,in: New Analyses of Worker Well-Being, volume 38, pages 1-35 Emerald Publishing Ltd.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:rleczz:s0147-9121(2013)0000038001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Trade; gender; inequality; D3; F15; J16;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
    • O24 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Trade Policy; Factor Movement; Foreign Exchange Policy
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean

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