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Taking gender differences in bargaining power seriously: Equity, labor standards, and living wages

  • Seguino, Stephanie

Expanding women’s outside options, including paid work at living wages, is a mechanism for improving their well-being. But in developing countries, the dual phenomenon of women’s segregation in export industries and increased firm mobility constrain women’s ability to improve their wages, work conditions, and to bargain for more secure jobs. Efforts to bargain for higher compensation can lead to employment losses, if firms relocate to lower wage sites. These structural factors, rather than gender gaps in education, are largely responsible for persistent wage inequality. The World Bank views trade and market liberalization as unambiguously beneficial mechanisms to improve women’s relative status, but this view must be questioned in light of the structural conditions faced in labor markets. Since outside income has been shown to improve gender equity, what can be done to raise women's relative wages and improve labor standards while avoiding negative effects on output and employment? This paper seeks to answer that question, and considers the macro level policies that might be pursued in order to overcome structural impediments to gender wage equity.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 6508.

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Date of creation: Feb 2003
Date of revision: Oct 2003
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:6508
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  1. Stephanie Seguino, 2005. "Is More Mobility Good? Firm Mobility and the Low Wage-Low Productivity Trap," International Trade 0505008, EconWPA.
  2. Martφn Rama, 2001. "The Consequences of doubling the minimum wage: The case of Indonesia," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(4), pages 864-881, July.
  3. Gerald Epstein, 2000. "Threat Effects and the Impact of Capital Mobility on Wages and Public Finances: Developing a Research Agenda," Working Papers wp7, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  4. David KUCERA, 2002. "Core labour standards and foreign direct investment," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 141(1-2), pages 31-69, 03.
  5. Blecker, Robert A & Seguino, Stephanie, 2002. "Macroeconomic Effects of Reducing Gender Wage Inequality in an Export-Oriented, Semi-industrialized Economy," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(1), pages 103-19, February.
  6. Gerald Epstein & Elissa Braunstein, 2002. "Bargaining Power and Foreign Direct Investment in China: Can 1.3 Billion Consumers Tame the Multinationals?," Working Papers wp45, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  7. Gunseli Berik, 2000. "Mature Export-Led Growth and Gender Wage Inequality in Taiwan," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 1-26.
  8. Dani Rodrik, 1997. "Has Globalization Gone Too Far?," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 57.
  9. Sandra E. Black & Elizabeth Brainerd, 1999. "Importing equality? The effects of increased competition on the gender wage gap," Staff Reports 74, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  10. Marilyn Power, 1999. "Parasitic-Industries Analysis and Arguments for a Living Wage for Women in the Early Twentieth-Century United States," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(1), pages 61-78.
  11. Stephanie Seguino & Maria Sagrario Floro, 2003. "Does Gender have any Effect on Aggregate Saving? An empirical analysis," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(2), pages 147-166.
  12. Drusilla K. Brown, 2001. "Labor Standards: Where Do They Belong on the International Trade Agenda?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 89-112, Summer.
  13. James Heintz, 2002. "Global Labor Standards: Their Impact and Implementation," Working Papers wp46, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  14. Kucera, David & Milberg, William, 2000. "Gender Segregation and Gender Bias in Manufacturing Trade Expansion: Revisiting the "Wood Asymmetry"," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(7), pages 1191-1210, July.
  15. Zhao, Laixun, 1998. "The Impact of Foreign Direct Investment on Wages and Employment," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(2), pages 284-301, April.
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