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Developing Country Superwomen: Impacts of Trade Liberalisation on Female Market and Domestic Work

  • Ismaël Fofana
  • John Cockburn
  • Bernard Decaluwé

This study analyses the effects of trade liberalisation on male and female work in Nepal. Our contribution is principally based upon the leisure activities modeling on one hand, and the effects of male participation in domestic work with trade policy analysis on the other hand. While previous studies explicitly incorporate leisure activities that required data about which little is known, we use a microeconomic model and alternative calibration procedures to avoid arbitrariness. The experiment conducted in this study shows that the complete elimination of tariffs on imported goods in Nepal benefits women more than men in terms of earnings as their wage increases relatively to men. Generally, female market work expands in rural households and contracts in urban households. It appears that the entrance into market production has not been met with an equivalent reduction in the time they spend in domestic work. Consequently the leisure time of women declines as they enter the labor market. Furthermore, the study indicates that leisure time consumed by men, which is already greater than that consumed by women, increases with trade reform. The extend of male participation in domestic work significantly conditions the impacts on male and female wage rates and household labor supply decisions. When male participation in domestic work activities is low, women generally devote less time to market labor. However, their contribution to household income strill increases following trade reform as their wage rates rise relative to male market wage rates. Women are more responsive to the market when there is greatest scope to substitute between female domestic and market work, as occurs when men are more involved in domestic work. However, even in these cases their domestic work does not necessarily decrease in the same proportion.

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Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 0519.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0519
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  1. Charles L. Ballard & Don Fullerton & John B. Shoven & John Whalley, 1985. "A General Equilibrium Model for Tax Policy Evaluation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ball85-1, January.
  2. Eric J. Solberg & David C. Wong, 1992. "Family Time Use: Leisure, Home Production, Market Work, and Work Related Travel," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(3), pages 485-510.
  3. Graham, John W & Green, Carole A, 1984. "Estimating the Parameters of a Household Production Function with Joint Products," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(2), pages 277-82, May.
  4. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695 Elsevier.
  5. Mayer, Wolfgang, 1991. "Endogenous labor supply in international trade theory : Two alternative models," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 105-120, February.
  6. Gronau, Reuben, 1997. "The Theory of Home Production: The Past Ten Years," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 197-205, April.
  7. Fontana, Marzia & Wood, Adrian, 2000. "Modeling the Effects of Trade on Women, at Work and at Home," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(7), pages 1173-1190, July.
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