International Trade Openness and Gender Gaps in Pakistani Labor Force Participation Rates Over 57 Years

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Paper Abstract: 
The extent of openness to international trade may alter incentives differentially by gender for labor force participation, particularly in economies in which gender differentials in human capital investments such as schooling are large and in which norms about gender behaviors are strong. This paper uses historical census data since 1951 and two recent Labor Force Surveys to investigate the impact of international trade openness on gender differences in labor force participation rates in broad occupational categories in Pakistan. The method used controls for average gender differences in these occupational categories and the unobserved factors that affect male and female labor force participation rates equally. The estimates indicate that increased international trade significantly reduces the gap between male and female labor force participation.