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Does Trade Promote Gender Wage Equity? Evidence from East Asia

This study explores the impact of competition from international trade on the gender wage gap in Taiwan and South Korea between 1980 and 1999. The dynamic implications of Becker’s (1959) theory of discrimination lead one to expect that increased competition from international trade reduces the incentive for employers to discriminate against women. This effect should be more pronounced in concentrated sectors of the economy, where employers can use excess profits to cover the costs of discrimination. Alternatively, wage discrimination may increase with growing trade in a context of employment segregation that limits women’s ability to achieve wage gains. The empirical strategy controls for differences in market structure across industries in order to isolate the effect of competition from international trade. Estimation results are not consistent with Becker’s theory, as greater international competition in concentrated sectors is associated with larger wage gaps between men and women.

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Paper provided by Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA), The New School in its series SCEPA working paper series. SCEPA's main areas of research are macroeconomic policy, inequality and poverty, and globalization. with number 2002-14.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:epa:cepawp:2002-14
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  1. James Levinsohn, 1991. "Testing the Imports-as-Market-Discipline Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 3657, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Borjas, George J & Ramey, Valerie A, 1995. "Foreign Competition, Market Power, and Wage Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1075-1110, November.
  3. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
  4. Sandra E. Black & Elizabeth Brainerd, 2004. "Importing equality? The impact of globalization on gender discrimination," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(4), pages 540-559, July.
  5. Curry, B & George, K D, 1983. "Industrial Concentration: A Survey," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(3), pages 203-55, March.
  6. 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.
  7. Mason, Patrick L, 1999. "Male Interracial Wage Differentials: Competing Explanations," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(3), pages 261-99, May.
  8. Stephanie Seguino, 1997. "Gender wage inequality and export-led growth in South Korea," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(2), pages 102-132.
  9. Judith K. Hellerstein & David Neumark & Kenneth R. Troske, 2002. "Market Forces and Sex Discrimination," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(2), pages 353-380.
  10. Gunseli Berik, 2000. "Mature Export-Led Growth and Gender Wage Inequality in Taiwan," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 1-26.
  11. Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence M, 1996. "Wage Structure and Gender Earnings Differentials: An International Comparison," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(250), pages S29-62, Suppl..
  12. Joseph E. Zveglich & Jr & Yana van der Meulen Rodgers & William M. Rodgers III, 1997. "The persistence of gender earnings inequality in Taiwan, 1978-1992," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(4), pages 594-609, July.
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