Hosny Zoabi
Trade Liberalization, Female Labor Force Participation and Economic Growth

Abstract:This research argues that the interaction between international trade and female labor force participation has designed the demographic transition and, therefore, has played a significant role in determining economic growth in income per capita across countries during the twentieth century. The theory suggests that international trade has affected the evolution of economies asymmetrically and that differences in capital labor ratios across countries have determined the relative advantages and thus the patterns of trade. On the one hand, countries with a relatively high capital labor ratios have specialized in goods that are more complementary to women's labor. This rise in the demand for women's labor has increased women's wage and induced a reduction in fertility, accelerating the demographic transition and the accumulation of capital, which in turn, has enhanced the initial comparative advantages of these economies. On the other hand, countries that have accompanied the the process of trade liberalization with a relatively low levels of capital labor ratios have specialized in producing goods, that are less complementary to women's labor. This pattern has delayed the integration of women in the labor market and, therefore, have urged families to increase fertility which, in turn, has diluted capital labor ratios.

JEL: F16 J10 J13 J16.
Keywords: Economic Growth, International Trade, Female Labor Force Particiation, Fertility.



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