Trade liberalization, industry concentration and female workers: the case of EgyptReport as inadecuate

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IZA Journal of Labor Policy

, 3:20

First Online: 29 September 2014Received: 27 June 2013Accepted: 18 July 2014


The gender wage gap increased significantly in Egypt over the last two decades, while female labor force participation rates have steadily declined. This study investigates the relationship between women’s labor market outcomes in the manufacturing sector, the degree of industry concentration, and the trade reforms that took place simultaneously. Results indicate that industry concentration is detrimental to women in the labor market and that the impact of trade liberalization differs depending on the degree of concentration and the nature of the international competition. In initially competitive industries, increased import competition is associated with higher gender wage gaps and lower female employment. Increased export intensity on the other hand is associated with a lower gender wage gap, but lower female employment. Conversely, opening up to increased international import competition in initially concentrated industries is associated with falling gender wage gaps and rising female employment, while increased exports in these industries is associated with higher female employment as well. These findings have important implications for policy makers attempting to create more equitable labor market conditions in post-revolutionary Egypt.

JEL classificationsF1, F6, J7, J3

KeywordsTrade liberalization Industry concentration Gender discrimination Inter-industry gender wage gap Female employment Egypt Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-2193-9004-3-20 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Shireen AlAzzawi



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