Document Type




Format of Original

27 p.

Publication Date



Walter de Gruyter

Source Publication

Business and Politics

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

doi: 10.1515/bap-2013-0039


Over time and across countries, researchers have noted frequent and mostly unexplained gender differences in the levels of support for policies of free or freer trade: according to aggregate results from many surveys, women tend to be less favorable toward policies of liberalizing trade than men. Positing an economic security explanation based largely on a mobile factors approach, we ask if it is women generally who are more negative toward trade or rather women who are more economically vulnerable – i.e., women from the scarce labor factor. We utilize data from two recent surveys on individuals’ attitudes toward different facets of trade and its effects to examine this hypothesis empirically. Rejecting a monolithic definition of “women,” we find that disaggregating by education level illuminates to some extent what underlying characteristics might be helping to drive some of these findings. Lower-skilled women in the US are much less likely to support free trade compared to higher-skilled women and this may largely explain previous negative findings. The low versus high-skill dynamic is, however, much less clear in the findings using survey data from a small sample of developing countries.


Published version. Business and Politics, Vol. 16, No. 3 (October 2014): 453-479. DOI. © 2014 Walter de Gruyter. Used with permission.

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