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Comparative advantage, international trade, and fertility

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  • Do, Quy-Toan
  • Levchenko, Andrei
  • Raddatz, Claudio

Abstract

This paper analyzes theoretically and empirically the impact of comparative advantage in international trade on fertility. It builds 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. The paper demonstrates empirically that countries with comparative advantage in industries employing primarily women exhibit lower fertility. The analysis uses a geography-based instrument for trade patterns to isolate the causal effect of comparative advantage on fertility.

Suggested Citation

  • Do, Quy-Toan & Levchenko, Andrei & Raddatz, Claudio, 2014. "Comparative advantage, international trade, and fertility," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6930, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6930
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic Theory&Research; Labor Policies; Population Policies; Labor Markets; Trade Policy;
    All these keywords.

    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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