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DECTI Trade Seminar: Engendering Trade

Sponsor: Development Economics and Chief Economist (DEC)


  • Quy-Toan Do, World Bank
  • Claudio Raddatzy, World Bank

Abstract: We analyze the interaction between a country's world market integration and its attitude
towards gender roles. We discuss both theoretically and empirically how female empowerment
is a source of comparative advantage that shapes a country's response to trade opening. Reciprocally, we show that as countries integrate into the world economy, the costs and benefits
of gender discrimination shift. Our theory goes beyond a potential aggregate wealth effect associated
with trade opening, and emphasizes the heterogeneity of impacts. On the one hand,
countries in which women are empowered - measured by fertility rates, female labor force participation or female schooling - experience an expansion of industries that use female labor
relatively more intensively. On the other hand, the gender gap is smaller in countries that export
more in relatively female-labor intensive sectors. In an increasingly globalized economy,
the road to gender equality is paradoxically very specific to each country's productive structure
and exposure to world markets.

For Information: Anna Regina Rillo Bonfield

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