American Economic Review: Vol. 103 No. 3 (May 2013)


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Trade Liberalization and Gender Inequality

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Juhn, Chinhui, Gergely Ujhelyi, and Carolina Villegas-Sanchez. 2013. "Trade Liberalization and Gender Inequality." American Economic Review, 103(3): 269-73.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.269


We consider a model where firms differ in their productivity and workers are differentiated by skill and gender. A reduction in tariffs induces more productive firms to modernize their technology and enter the export market. New technologies involve computerized production processes and lower the need for physically demanding skills. As a result, the relative wage and employment of women improves in blue-collar tasks, but not in white-collar tasks. We empirically confirm these theoretical predictions using a panel of Mexican establishments and the tariff reductions associated with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

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Juhn, Chinhui (U Houston)
Ujhelyi, Gergely (U Houston)
Villegas-Sanchez, Carolina (Ramon Llul U)

JEL Classifications

F13: Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
F16: Trade and Labor Market Interactions
J16: Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
J31: Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
O15: Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
O19: International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations

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