How trade policy discriminates against women

David Fortunato coauthors new article

David Fortunato

David Fortunato and coauthors Timm Betz and Diana O’Brien find evidence of significant gender discrimination in trade policy, particularly when women are underrepresented in government.

Women’s and men’s apparel (coats, shoes, trousers, etc.) are issued distinct product codes for the purposes of setting and enforcing import taxes. Betz, Fortunato, and O’Brien compared the import tax rates on 73 product pairs that are identical in form and function except the gender of the target consumer (i.e., “women’s cotton shirts” and “men’s cotton shirts”) in every country between 1995 and 2015 and found that, on average, women’s goods are taxed 0.7% more than men’s goods globally.

In democracies, these gendered tax penalties are higher where women are underrepresented in government. The authors estimate that underrepresentation results in tax penalties costing women consumers living in democratic countries €13 billion each year.

The (short) article is available here:

Fortunato offers a brief summary here:

The page was last edited by: Department of International Economics, Government and Business // 11/13/2020