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Trade Liberalization and Female Labor Force Participation: Evidence from Brazil

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  • Gaddis, Isis

    () (World Bank)

  • Pieters, Janneke

    () (Wageningen University)

Abstract

While there is a large literature analyzing the distributional impacts of trade reforms across the income or skill distribution, very little is known about the gender effects of trade reforms. This paper seeks to fill this gap and investigates the impact of Brazil's 1987-1994 trade liberalization on labor force participation of women. To identify the causal effect of trade reforms we exploit exogenous variation in exposure to tariff reductions across states linked to spatial differences in states' initial industry composition. We find that tariff reductions were associated with an increase in female labor force participation and employment after a period of around two years. Our results are robust to a variety of different approaches in dealing with the potential endogeneity of regional exposure to trade liberalization, alternative measures of trade protection and different time periods. Moreover, we find evidence that employment flows across sectors, especially an accelerated shift from agriculture and manufacturing to trade and other services, but also greater labor market insecurity and male unemployment are behind the observed increase in female economic activity. This suggests that both push and pull factors induced women to join the labor force.

Suggested Citation

  • Gaddis, Isis & Pieters, Janneke, 2012. "Trade Liberalization and Female Labor Force Participation: Evidence from Brazil," IZA Discussion Papers 6809, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6809
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    Cited by:

    1. Ali Fakih & Pascal L. Ghazalian, 2013. "Female Labour Force Participation in MENA's Manufacturing Sector: The Implications of Firm-related and National Factors," CIRANO Working Papers 2013s-46, CIRANO.
    2. Ali Fakih & Pascal L. Ghazalian, 2013. "Female Labour Force Participation in MENA's Manufacturing Sector: The Implications of Firm-related and National Factors," CIRANO Working Papers 2013s-46, CIRANO.
    3. Stephan Klasen & Janneke Pieters, 2015. "What Explains the Stagnation of Female Labor Force Participation in Urban India?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 29(3), pages 449-478.
    4. Isis Gaddis & Stephan Klasen, 2014. "Economic development, structural change, and women’s labor force participation:," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 27(3), pages 639-681, July.
    5. Justina A.V. Fischer, 2015. "Globalized Markets, Globalized Information, and Female Employment: Accounting for Regional Differences in 30 OECD Countries," AIEL Series in Labour Economics,in: Chiara Mussida & Francesco Pastore (ed.), Geographical Labor Market Imbalances. Recent Explanations and Cures, edition 1, chapter 13, pages Universit AIEL - Associazione Italiana Economisti del Lavoro.
    6. Sonja Avlijas, 2016. "Vicious and virtuous cycles of female labour force participation in post-socialist Eastern Europe," LEQS – LSE 'Europe in Question' Discussion Paper Series 119, European Institute, LSE.
    7. Ali Fakih & Pascal Ghazalian, 2015. "Female employment in MENA’s manufacturing sector: the implications of firm-related and national factors," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 37-69, February.
    8. L. Alan Winters & Antonio Martuscelli, 2014. "Trade Liberalization and Poverty: What Have We Learned in a Decade?," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 493-512, October.
    9. Sher Verick, 2014. "Female labor force participation in developing countries," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 1-87, September.
    10. Uchenna Efobi & Belmondo Tanankem & Simplice Asongu, 2016. "Technological Advancement and the Evolving Gender Identities: A Focus on the Level of Female Economic Participation in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 16/045, African Governance and Development Institute..
    11. Gunatilaka, Ramani., 2013. "To work or not to work? : Factors holding women back from market work in Sri Lanka," ILO Working Papers 994838403402676, International Labour Organization.
    12. repec:ilo:ilowps:483840 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Stephan Klasen, 2012. "Verbessern Wachstum und Globalisierung Arbeitsmarktchancen für Frauen in Entwicklungsländern?," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 81(3), pages 61-68.
    14. World Bank, 2014. "India : Women, Work and Employment," World Bank Other Operational Studies 18737, The World Bank.
    15. Asadullah, Niaz & Wahhaj, Zaki, 2016. "Missing from the Market: Purdah Norm and Women's Paid Work Participation in Bangladesh," IZA Discussion Papers 10463, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Johannes Schwarzer, 2016. "Trade and Employment. An Overview," Discussion Notes 1601, Council on Economic Policies.
    17. Anukriti, S & Kumler, Todd J., 2014. "Tariffs, Social Status, and Gender in India," IZA Discussion Papers 7969, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. Hadi Esfahani & Roksana Bahramitash & Bin Lin, 2016. "Gender and Labour Allocation: the Role of Institutions and Policies in the Allocation of Female and Male Labor," Working Papers 998, Economic Research Forum, revised May 2016.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    female labor force participation; trade liberalization; Brazil;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • 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
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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