Working Paper No. 436 | January 2006

Importing Equality or Exporting Jobs?

Competition and Gender Wage and Employment Differentials in US Manufacturing

This study investigates the impact of increased import competition on gender wage and employment differentials in American manufacturing over the period from 1976 to 1993. Increased import competition is expected to decrease the relative demand for workers in low-wage production occupations and the relative demand for women workers, given the high female share in these occupations. The findings support this hypothesis. Disproportionate job losses for women in low-wage production occupations was associated with rising imports in US manufacturing over this period, and as low-wage women lost their jobs, the average wage of the remaining women in the study increased, thereby narrowing the gender wage gap.

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Author(s): Riccardo Zolea
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