IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Effects of Trade on Female Labor Force Participation

  • Hosny Zoabi
  • Philip Saure

This paper uncovers a counter-intuitive effect of international trade on female labor shares: whenever trade expands, sectors intensive in female labor, female labor shares drop and vice versa. According to our key assumption a rising capital labor ratio closes the gender wage gap. The paper’s mechanism operates as follows. Expansions of sectors intensive in female labor come along with contractions of sectors intensive in male labor. These contractions imply that male labor reallocates to sectors intensive in female labor. The capital labor ratio in the latter sectors drops, which widens the gender wage gap and causes a decrease in aggregate female labor shares. Based on instrumented U.S.-Mexican trade flows, we provide empirical evidence in support of our theory.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade in its series DEGIT Conference Papers with number c015_015.

in new window

Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:deg:conpap:c015_015
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Niels Bohrs Vej 9, 6700 Esbjerg

Phone: +45 6550 2233
Fax: +45 6550 1090
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Cassey, Andrew, 2006. "State export data: origin of movement vs. origin of production," MPRA Paper 3352, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. James Feyrer, 2011. "Distance, Trade, and Income -- The 1967 to 1975 Closing of the Suez Canal as a Natural Experiment," 2011 Meeting Papers 1438, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Galor, Oded & Weil, David N, 1996. "The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 374-87, June.
  4. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2002. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1133-1191.
  5. Matthias Doepke & Moshe Hazan & Yishay Maoz, 2007. "The Baby Boom and World War II: A Macroeconomic Analysis," NBER Working Papers 13707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Black, Sandra E. & Spitz-Oener, Alexandra, 2007. "Explaining Women’s Success: Technological Change and the Skill Content of Women’s Work," IZA Discussion Papers 2803, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Oded_Galor, 2004. "From Stagnation to Growth:Unified Growth Theory," Working Papers 2004-15, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  9. Jeffrey R. Campbell & Beverly Lapham, 2001. "Real Exchange Rate Fluctuations and the Dynamics of Retail Trade Industries on the U.S.-Canada Border," NBER Working Papers 8558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Oded Galor & Andrew Mountford, 2008. "Trading Population for Productivity: Theory and Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1143-1179.
  11. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki, 2010. "Labour Market Rigidities, Trade and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(3), pages 1100-1137.
  12. Jones, Ronald W. & Easton, Stephen T., 1983. "Factor intensities and factor substitution in general equilibrium," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1-2), pages 65-99, August.
  13. Alejandro Cuñat & Marc J. Melitz, 2007. "Volatility, Labor Market Flexibility, and the Pattern of Comparative Advantage," NBER Working Papers 13062, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Greenwood, Jeremy & Seshadri, Ananth, 2005. "Technological Progress and Economic Transformation," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 19, pages 1225-1273 Elsevier.
  15. Galor, Oded & Weil, David, 1999. "From Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2082, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Anne O. Krueger, 1999. "Trade Creation and Trade Diversion Under NAFTA," NBER Working Papers 7429, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Robert C. Feenstra & Robert E. Lipsey & Haiyan Deng & Alyson C. Ma & Hengyong Mo, 2005. "World Trade Flows: 1962-2000," NBER Working Papers 11040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Wacziarg, Romain & Wallack, Jessica Seddon, 2004. "Trade liberalization and intersectoral labor movements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 411-439, December.
  19. Chang, Winston W, 1979. "Some Theorems of Trade and General Equilibrium with Many Goods and Factors," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 709-26, May.
  20. 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.
  21. Casey B. Mulligan & Yona Rubinstein, 2005. "Selection, Investment, and Women's Relative Wages Since 1975," NBER Working Papers 11159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
  23. Martha J. Bailey, 2006. "More Power to the Pill: The Impact of Contraceptive Freedom on Women's Life Cycle Labor Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 289-320.
  24. Gosling, Amanda, 2003. "The Changing Distribution of Male and Female Wages, 1978-2000: Can the Simple Skills Story be Rejected?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4045, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  25. 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.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:deg:conpap:c015_015. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jan Pedersen)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.