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

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  • Seguino, Stephanie

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Seguino, Stephanie, 2003. "Taking gender differences in bargaining power seriously: Equity, labor standards, and living wages," MPRA Paper 6508, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Oct 2003.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:6508
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/6508/2/MPRA_paper_6508.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Seguino, Stephanie, 2007. "Is more mobility good?: Firm mobility and the low wage-low productivity trap," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 27-51, March.
    2. Gunseli Berik, 2000. "Mature Export-Led Growth and Gender Wage Inequality in Taiwan," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 1-26.
    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. 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.
    5. James Heintz, 2002. "Global Labor Standards: Their Impact and Implementation," Working Papers wp46, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    6. David KUCERA, 2002. "Core labour standards and foreign direct investment," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 141(1-2), pages 31-69, March.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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 103-119, February.
    11. Martín Rama, 2001. "The Consequences of Doubling the Minimum Wage: The Case of Indonesia," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(4), pages 864-881, July.
    12. 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.
    13. Dani Rodrik, 1997. "Has Globalization Gone Too Far?," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 57.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stephanie Seguino, 2008. "Gender, Distribution, and Balance of Payments (revised 10/08)," Working Papers wp133_revised, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    2. Günseli Berik & Yana Van Der Meulen Rodgers, 2010. "Options for enforcing labour standards: Lessons from Bangladesh And Cambodia," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(1), pages 56-85.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    labor standards; wages; international trade;

    JEL classification:

    • F4 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • J8 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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