International Economics Labor Economics Gender Economics Innovation Urban and Regional Economics
We examine whether exposure to gender inequality at export destinations affects the gender wage gap in exporting firms. We motivate the analysis through a stylized model where wages depend on worker productivity, and men have a comparative advantage when trading with gender-unequal countries due to customer discrimination. Empirically, we use high-quality matched employer-employee data from Sweden and calculate how exposed firms are to country-level gender inequality through their export destinations. Although increased export intensity on average leads to a wider within-firm gender wage gap, the effect is entirely driven by trade with gender-unequal countries; we find no impact on the gender wage gap when firms increase their exports to countries with gender-equality levels close to that of Sweden. Female managers, who are most likely to interact with foreign customers, experience the most pronounced negative relative wage effects.
We study foreign ownership as a vehicle for transferring gender norms across international borders. Specifically, we analyze how the within-firm gender wage gap in Sweden is affected by the degree of gender inequality in the home country of foreign investors. The results suggest that gender norms of the home country matter— the wage gap between men and women in foreign-owned subsidiaries appears to increase with the degree of gender inequality prevailing in the investors’ home market. The finding is identified from within job spell variation in wages and remains robust across a series of specifications.
Revise & Resubmit at the Canadian Journal of Economics
In this paper, we study exports and how the associated need for communication with foreign partners shapes the gender wage gap. Specifically, we examine how the demand for interpersonal skills in trade and gender-specific differences in negotiations are related to the remuneration of men and women. Our key finding is that export of goods that are intensive in interpersonal contacts widens the gender wage gap. The negative wage effect is robust across various specifications and is most pronounced for domestic exporting firms, which mainly deal with external contractors. We ascribe this result to a male comparative advantage in bargaining—a skill that is especially needed and rewarded when serving foreign markets, where intense contracting problems manifest themselves.
In this paper, I explore how exposure to import competition across different geographical aggregations affects the innovation activity of firms in the Swedish manufacturing sector. I utilize detailed geographical information on the location of manufacturing firms in Sweden and analyze whether increased competitive pressure from abroad triggers a different response in firms’ innovation at the national, regional, local labor market, and municipality levels. By exploiting exogenous shocks in the foreign export supply of intermediate manufacturing goods, I find the most pronounced effects at the municipality and local labor market levels, which are consistently negative across different innovation metrics.
Most western economies have experienced rapid urbanization over the past decades. Sweden is one of the countries where a clear majority of municipalities are declining in population and facing challenges induced by urbanization. In this paper, we study one such challenge: scarce access to food retailing. In the existing literature, areas short of food retailers are often referred to as food deserts, and the implications of having low access to this vital amenity have been carefully scrutinized. However, we still know very little about the codependency between food retailing and changes in population. The simultaneous causality makes it hard to infer the magnitude of the effect of population decline on retailer survival, likewise the impact of retailer on place attractiveness. Using full population data on retail establishments and individuals in Sweden, we fill the literature gap by examining the simultaneity between the decline in local food retailers and the population decline.
Halvarsson, D., Lark, O., Tingvall, P.G., Vahter, P. and Videnord, J. (2023). Do gender norms travel within corporations? The impact of foreign subsidiaries on the home country's gender wage gap. Applied Economics Letters.
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