Educated women don’t like globalization and trade as much

Michael Hiscox of Harvard reports:

We examine new survey data on attitudes toward international trade showing that women are significantly less likely than men to support increasing trade with foreign nations. This gender gap remains large even when controlling for a broad range of socio-economic characteristics among survey respondents, including occupational, skill, and industry-of-employment differences that feature in standard political-economy models of individuals’ trade policy preferences. Measures of the particular labor-market risks and costs associated with maternity do not appear to be related at all to the gender gap in trade preferences. We also do not find any strong evidence that gender differences in non-material values or along ideological dimensions have any affect on attitudes toward trade. The data do clearly reveal that the gender gap exists only among college-educated respondents and is larger among older cohorts. We argue that differences in educational experience – specifically, exposure to economic ideas at the college level – appear to be most plausible explanation for gender differences in attitudes toward trade. The findings suggest the possibilities of a renewed theoretical and empirical focus on the political roles played by ideas, not just among policymakers but also among the broader electorate. In practical terms, there are also implications for trade policy outcomes in different contexts and for how debates over globalization contribute to broader gender divisions in politics.

I considered titling this post "Your girls’ minds are being poisoned," but I’ve learned repeatedly that a big chunk of you don’t know when I am joking.  I don’t however, see selective education as the relevant difference.  Perhaps education is correlated with a female (and often male) decision to adopt a self-identity as a "caring person."  Given the difference between the seen and unseen, a’la Bastiat, and the imperfect state of economics education, that makes those people critics of globalization.


"Remember, if you don’t like these, you probably didn’t follow my advice for what to order. Or you are to blame in some other manner, I don’t know which one, there are many possibilities. The most likely are that you simply don’t have very good taste, or perhaps you are not very bright. Too bad."

From this post:
"I considered titling this post 'our girls' minds are being poisoned,' but I've learned repeatedly that a big chunk of you don't know when I am joking."


Is there a possibility that educated women are more likely to be aware of the (often not so great) social and working condition of women in other countries, and therefore less likely to want to trade with those countries? In other words, is it possible that their thinking about trade isn't based on thinking about trade at all, but about thinking about oppressive political regimes/lack of access to medical care/misogynist religions/etc.etc.etc.?

Chari: So women want their children to be poorer by neglecting gains from trade and comparative advantage? That doesn't seem like very good mothering to me.

Prof. Cowen: I'm fairly willing to buy the lack of study angle, but purely out of anecdotal experience (probably a bad metric). The number of women in any economics class, at least when I was a student, was inversely proportionate to the level. There were not many women (probably 10-15 out of 120 or so) in my International Trade class and even fewer in FDI. Interestingly, the upper-division micro and macro theory classes were only about 60/40 men/women.

The negative effects of increasing trade falls mostly on those who do not have college education whether they are young, old, male or female so it is not surprising that the well educated views trade for favorably. Woman do most or the shopping in households and older women after years of doing so have accumulated more evidence of the real effects increasing trade has had on consumers, than have men of young women. The authors acknowledge this, but then fail to consider that this is the reason for the difference. The simple explanation is that men and young college educated women, who have less experience shopping and buy more high tech items, see more gains from trade than older women and so will be more positive about increasing trade. There is a bias in research that when men and women exhibit different behavior they rarely ascribe the difference to more knowledge of women.

You are getting an AMAZING amount of comment spam at the moment.

Did somebody crack the "Turing test"?

Why crack the Turing test when you can just hire thinking human beings in low wage countries to post comment spam for you instead? Hooray, globalization. :D :D :D

My wife discusses trade and economic policy intelligently, and she isn't an economist.

She does have a Masters in Commerce, does that count?

Many females around me discuss about trade and globelisation with a great intellect.So this post is ruse.

"This gender gap remains large even when controlling for a broad range of socio-economic characteristics among survey respondents, including occupational, skill, and industry-of-employment differences that feature in standard political-economy models of individuals’ trade policy preferences."
This is very apt for the various analysing powers of individuals irrespective of either being a male or a female.

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