trade good for women, Fed sez

MScoleman at MScoleman at
Wed Apr 28 21:04:54 PDT 1999

The problems with the Black and Brainerd hypothesis are: 1. A significant portion of the closing gender gap in wages is due to a reduction in male wages, not an increase in female wages (though there has been some increase, but no where near as much as the closing gender gap would indicate). 2. Blau and Ferber in other work find that market segregation, a much more accurate indicator of labor market discrimination, has barely changed in the last 30 years. While there was some significant reduction in segregation in the 70s, that trend levelled off in the 80s, and there is some indication that some jobs at a blue collar level are becoming more segregated (e.g. phone co). 3. The demographic group that has done the best since the passage of eeoc laws is white women. In the last few years, though, there has been a sharp downturn in their wages vis a vis white men. Black men have done the worst and have lost significant ground in terms of wage growth in the last twenty years. For a few years, the wage trends of black and Hispanic women increased, but they too have lost ground and are today in almost the same position wage wise in relation to white men as they were 30 years ago. 4. The one group of women who have done well in closing the gender gap are white professional women between the ages of 20 and 25. If one wants to take that small group and make then representative of all women, then the hypothesis will work. Of course, that's ageist, racist, etc...... Women over 50 still earn forty eight cents on the male dollar. But, hells bells, they're post menopausal so who cares? 5. Any hypothesis that wants to apply feminism to Becker is, imho, suspect. That's not scientific, that's just my fucking opinion. maggie coleman mscoleman at

In a message dated 99-04-28 14:37:14 EDT, you write: << Sandra E. Black and Elizabeth Brainerd

It is now well documented that the gender wage gap declined substantially

in the 1980s, despite rising overall wage inequality. While Blau and Kahn

(JoLE 1997) attribute much of this improvement to gains in women's relative

labor market experience and other observable characteristics, a substantial

part of the decline in the gender wage gap remains unexplained, and may be

due to reduced discrimination against women in the labor market. This

paper tests the hypothesis (based on Becker 1957) that increased

globalization in the 1980s forced employers to reduce costly discrimination

against women and thus accounted for part of the "unexplained" improvement

in the gender pay gap.

To test this hypothesis, we calculate the change in the residual gender

wage gap across industries (as well as cities) over time using CPS data

from 1977 - 1994, and test the correlation between this measure and changes

in import shares. The wage data are further broken down by the type of

market structure in an industry, i.e. whether the industry is concentrated

or competitive. Since concentrated industries face little competitive

pressure to reduce discrimination, an increase in competition from

increased trade should lead to a reduction in the residual gender wage

gap. We use a difference-in-differences approach to compare the change in

the residual gender wage gap in concentrated versus unconcentrated sectors,

using the latter as a control for changes in the gender wage gap that are

unrelated to competitive pressures. The findings indicate that increased

competition through trade did contribute to the narrowing of the gender

wage gap, suggesting that, at least in this sense, trade may benefit women

relative to men.

JEL Classification Codes

J7, J3

View Entire Article in Adobe Acrobat Format


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