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Trade Liberalization and the Gender Employment Gap in China

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  • Wang, Feicheng
  • Kis-Katos, Krisztina
  • Zhou, Minghai

Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of import liberalization induced labor demand shocks on male and female employment in China. Combining data from population and firm censuses between 1990 and 2005, we relate prefecture-level employment by gender to the exposure to tariff reductions on locally imported products. Our empirical results show that increasing import competition has kept more females in the workforce, reducing an otherwise growing gender employment gap in the long run. These dynamics were present both in local economies as a whole and among formal private industrial firms. Examining channels through which tariff reductions differentially affect males and females, we find that trade-induced competitive pressures contributed to a general expansion of female-intensive industries, a shift in sectoral gender segregation, reductions in gender discrimination in the labor market, technological upgrading through computerization, and general income growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Wang, Feicheng & Kis-Katos, Krisztina & Zhou, Minghai, 2020. "Trade Liberalization and the Gender Employment Gap in China," GLO Discussion Paper Series 638, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:638
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    Cited by:

    1. Giorgia Giovannetti & Marco Sanfilippo & Arianna Vivoli, 2021. "Trade liberalization, employment, and gender in Ethiopia," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2021-59, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trade liberalization; Import competition; Gender employment gap; China;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • F66 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Labor
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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