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Importing Equality? The Impact of Globalization on Gender Discrimination

  • Black, Sandra E.

    ()

    (University of Texas at Austin)

  • Brainerd, Elizabeth

    ()

    (Brandeis University)

While researchers have long held that discrimination cannot endure in an increasingly competitive environment, there has been little work testing this dynamic process. This paper tests the hypothesis (based on Becker 1957) that increased competition resulting from globalization in the 1980s forced employers to reduce costly discrimination against women. The empirical strategy exploits differences in market structure across industries to identify the impact of trade on the gender wage gap: because concentrated industries face little competitive pressure to reduce discrimination, an increase in competition from increased trade should lead to a reduction in the gender wage gap. We compare the change in the residual gender wage gap between 1976 and 1993 in concentrated versus competitive manufacturing industries, using the latter as a control for changes in the gender wage gap that are unrelated to competitive pressures. We find that increased competition through trade did contribute to the relative improvement in female wages in concentrated relative to competitive industries, suggesting that, at least in this sense, trade may benefit women by reducing firms’ ability to discriminate.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 556.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 2004, 57 (4), 540-598
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp556
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  1. Claudia Goldin, 1990. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gold90-1, 07.
  2. Katics, Michelle M & Petersen, Bruce C, 1994. "The Effect of Rising Import Competition on Market Power: A Panel Data Study of U.S. Manufacturing," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(3), pages 277-86, September.
  3. Jose Manuel Campa & Linda S. Goldberg, 1998. "Employment versus Wage Adjustment and the US Dollar," NBER Working Papers 6749, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 1998. "Empirical Strategies in Labor Economics," Working papers 98-7, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Richard B. Freeman, 1995. "Are Your Wages Set in Beijing?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 15-32, Summer.
  6. Levinsohn, James, 1993. "Testing the imports-as-market-discipline hypothesis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1-2), pages 1-22, August.
  7. Bound, John, et al, 1994. "Evidence on the Validity of Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Labor Market Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(3), pages 345-68, July.
  8. Douglas L. Kruse, 1988. "International trade and the labor market experience of displaced workers," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 41(3), pages 402-417, April.
  9. Judith K. Hellerstein & David Neumark & Kenneth R. Troske, 1998. "Market Forces and Sex Discrimination," Labor and Demography 9807002, EconWPA.
  10. 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.
  11. Erica L. Groshen, 1991. "The Structure of the Female/Male Wage Differential: Is It Who You Are, What You Do, or Where You Work?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(3), pages 457-472.
  12. Wood, Robert G & Corcoran, Mary E & Courant, Paul N, 1993. "Pay Differences among the Highly Paid: The Male-Female Earnings Gap in Lawyers' Salaries," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(3), pages 417-41, July.
  13. David Neumark & Roy J. Bank & Kyle D. Van Nort, 1995. "Sex Discrimination in Restaurant Hiring: An Audit Study," NBER Working Papers 5024, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
  15. Goldberg, Matthew S, 1982. "Discrimination, Nepotism, and Long-Run Wage Differentials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(2), pages 307-19, May.
  16. Jaeger, David A, 1997. "Reconciling the Old and New Census Bureau Education Questions: Recommendations for Researchers," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(3), pages 300-309, July.
  17. Eric J. Bartelsman & Wayne Gray, 1996. "The NBER Manufacturing Productivity Database," NBER Technical Working Papers 0205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. 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.
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  21. repec:rus:hseeco:9982 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Ashenfelter, Orley & Hannan, Timothy, 1986. "Sex Discrimination and Product Market Competition: The Case of the Banking Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(1), pages 149-73, February.
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