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Three Essays on the Relationship Between Trade and Gender in U.S. Manufacturing

posted on 2023-08-04, 18:07 authored by Erin E. Hinchey

In 2008, married-couple families relied on women to bring home 42.2 percent of household income. Anything that impacts the 77 cents women earn for every dollar men earn or women's 47 percent of the labor force is crucial to those families increasingly relying on women's income. Interactions in the open economy represent one set of factors which might account for gender differences in wages and employment. Manufacturing imports rose from 14 percent of the domestic supply in 1991 to 25 percent in 2008. In this dissertation, I evaluate three ways in which the international economy may affect women and men in the labor market in different ways. Chapter 1 reviews the literature discussing the impact of trade liberalization on both women and men in the labor market. Chapter 2 looks at the relationship between trade liberalization and the gender wage gap. Evaluating four theories which link trade liberalization to the gender wage gap and employment, I find that increased trade does not generally have an impact on the gender wage gap, though it is associated with a larger college premium and lower wages for men. In chapter 3, I examine the relationship between trade liberalization and gender differences in job flows. By introducing gender segregation to trade models featuring heterogeneous levels of firm productivity, I show that trade liberalization increases job destruction for women relative to men. I confirm that female workers in import-competing industries experience greater job destruction than male workers, while male workers in export-intensive industries experience greater job creation than female workers. Chapter 4 evaluates the relationship between real exchange rates and job flows. Theory suggests that an appreciation reduces labor demand in an industry and therefore increases job destruction and decreases job creation, while depreciations increase labor demand. As women tend to be employed in import-competing, open, industries, this suggests that depreciations are advantageous for female job flows relative to male job flows, while appreciations are advantageous to male job flows relative to female job flows. I find that appreciations are generally associated with greater churn of the labor market, though the impact differs by gender. Chapter 5 concludes. This dissertation provides insight into the differential labor market experiences of women and men.





Degree awarded: Ph.D. Economics. American University.; Electronic thesis available to American University authorized users only, per author's request.


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