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Comparative Advantage, International Trade, and Fertility

  • Quy-Toan Do

    (The World Bank)

  • Andrei A. Levchenko

    (University of Michigan and NBER)

  • Claudio Raddatz

    (Central Bank of Chile)

We analyze theoretically and empirically the impact of comparative advantage in international trade on fertility. We build a model in which industries differ in the extent to which they use female relative to male labor, and countries are characterized by Ricardian comparative advantage in either female- or male-intensive goods. The main prediction of the model is that countries with comparative advantage in female-intensive goods are characterized by lower fertility. This is because female wages, and therefore the opportunity cost of child-rearing are higher in those countries. We demonstrate empirically that countries with comparative advantage in industries employing primarily women exhibit lower fertility. We use a geography-based instrument for trade patterns to isolate the causal effect of comparative advantage on fertility.

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File URL: http://www.fordschool.umich.edu/rsie/workingpapers/Papers601-625/r624.pdf
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Paper provided by Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan in its series Working Papers with number 624.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: 15 Feb 2012
Handle: RePEc:mie:wpaper:624
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