Gender Inequality and Trade*


  • *

    The authors benefited from very helpful suggestions and comments from various colleagues and an anonymous referee. Also, we would like to thank Karsten Reichel for his excellent research assistance. All remaining errors are, of course, our own.

Busse and Spielmann: Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA), World Economy Department, Neuer Jungfernstieg 21, 20347 Hamburg, Germany. Tel: +49-40-42834-435; Fax: +49-40-42834-451; E-mails: and


The paper empirically explores the international linkages between gender inequality and trade flows of a sample of 92 developed and developing countries. The focus is on comparative advantage in labor-intensive manufactured goods. The results indicate that gender wage inequality is positively associated with comparative advantage in labor-intensive goods, i.e. countries with a larger gender wage gap have higher exports of these goods. Also, gender inequality in labor force activity rates and educational attainment rates are negatively linked with comparative advantage in labor-intensive commodities.