Globalized firms: The gender employment gap and the transmission of attitudes towards female work across countries

02  May 2018    3:00 pm CEST

Carolina Lennon, University of Economics and Business (WU)

In cooperation with:


wiiw, Rahlgasse 3, 1060 Vienna


The presentation is based on a paper co-authored with Alyssa Schneebaum (WU).

Carolina Lennon

The question of whether globalization and expanding markets serve as a mechanism through which greater gender equality is achieved is one that has been debated heavily from a theoretical perspective. Much of the empirical literature to date suggests that there is generally a positive relationship between globalization and women's labor market outcomes, but this finding depends on country, time frame, and exact outcome measured. Along with these open empirical questions, perhaps the most important shortcoming in the literature is the omission of an analysis of the mechanisms through which globalization could affect gender equality. In this paper, we test if globalized firms have helped to reduce the employment gender gap in developing and transition economies and if they have acted as a catalyst for the transmission and convergence of attitudes towards female work. We define global firms in two ways: first, by a firm's level of foreign ownership, and second, based on whether or not the firm exports. Using unique firm-level data for companies in more than 100 countries between 2006 and 2016, this will be the first paper in the literature to look at the effect of globalization on gender equality in such a broad number of countries. Preliminary results show that global firms hire relatively more women than non-global firms after controlling for a rich set of firm's characteristics. We also find that whom you trade with and from where you receive FDI matters. As such, firms in economies that trade with or receive FDI from countries with a higher degree of gender equality are themselves more likely to have a greater share of female workers.

Paper and Powerpoint presentation, as far as available, are posted on this page after the seminar.

JEL classification: D22; F16; F23; F66; J16; J71