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I’d like to hear protectionist politicians on the stump this Fall arguing that, “we need to make trade fairer, we need to roll back NAFTA in order to put Mexican women back in their place “save” American jobs .

… we examine the impact of trade liberalization policies on women’s labor market outcomes in Mexico.

We find that that:

  • women’s relative wage remained stable
  • women’s employment increased
  • … leading to an increase in women’s wage bill share.

We find tariff cuts and exports are positively related to industry growth and women benefited since some of the fastest growing industries were female-intensive industries.

… women’s wage bill share is positively related to exports by foreign firms, suggesting that trade liberalization further encouraged outsourcing and assembly-type activity. Finally, we find suggestive evidence that household bargaining power shifted in favor of women. Expenditures shifted from goods associated with male preference, such as men’s clothing and tobacco and alcohol, to those associated with female preference such as women’s clothing and education.

The paper is here (gated).

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