Accounting for Income Inequality: empirical evidence from India
In recent years, an increasing number of regional and bilateral trade agreements have emerged that include provisions on labor standards. The claimed purpose of these labor provisions is to improve working conditions in developing and emerging economies. However, little is known about whether such provisions actually do impact working conditions. This paper conducts an econometric study on the effectiveness of labor provisions in trade agreements. In particular, we evaluate the impact of the 1999 Bilateral Textile Agreement between Cambodia and the United States (CUSBTA) on both the gender wage gap and discrimination. The agreement combined the incentive of higher exports with the obligation of textile manufacturers to comply with international core labor standards, which include the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. Using data from the Cambodia Socioeconomic Survey and applying a difference-in-difference estimation, we find a statistically significant reduction of the gender wage gap in the textile sector that can be attributed to the CUSBTA.