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Comparative Advantage, International Trade, and Fertility

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  • Quy-Toan Do
  • Andrei A. Levchenko
  • Claudio Raddatz

Abstract

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-labor or male-labor intensive goods. The main prediction of the model is that countries with comparative advantage in female-labor intensive goods are characterized by lower fertility. This is because female wages, and therefore the opportunity cost of children 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Quy-Toan Do & Andrei A. Levchenko & Claudio Raddatz, 2015. "Comparative Advantage, International Trade, and Fertility," NBER Working Papers 21677, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21677
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    8. Samy Soliman, Felix & Schymik, Jan, 2018. "Democratization, contracts and comparative advantage," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 173(C), pages 73-77.
    9. Isis Gaddis & Janneke Pieters, 2017. "The Gendered Labor Market Impacts of Trade Liberalization: Evidence from Brazil," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 52(2), pages 457-490.
    10. Green, Colin P. & Homroy, Swarnodeep, 2018. "Female directors, board committees and firm performance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 19-38.
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    14. Janneke Pieters, 2018. "Trade liberalization and gender inequality," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 1-11, October.
    15. Tadashi Morita & Kazuhiro Yamamoto, 2018. "Interregional Fertility Differentials and Agglomeration," The Japanese Economic Review, Springer, vol. 69(2), pages 171-188, June.
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    JEL classification:

    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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