Discussion paper

DP17607 Empowered Young Women: Trade Liberalization and Women’s Family Decisions in China

Do trade-induced labor market opportunities affect women's marriage and fertility decisions? Exploiting regional variation in the exposure to the U.S. granting of Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR), we find that more exposed Chinese prefectures experience a relative increase in the fraction of unmarried young women. This relative increase is due to young women delaying their first marriage and more married women choosing to divorce. The share of young women with children, as a result of changed marriage decisions, also experiences a relative decline in more exposed areas. We show that these shifts in family decisions coincide with a trade-induced increase in female workforce participation and reallocation of women relative to men to the service sector, where wages are higher.

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Citation

Zi, Y, D Ouyang and W Yuan (eds) (2022), “DP17607 Empowered Young Women: Trade Liberalization and Women’s Family Decisions in China”, CEPR Press Discussion Paper No. 17607. https://cepr.org/publications/dp17607