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Do Women Favor Foreign Direct Investment?

  • Chia-yi Lee (a1) and Mi Jeong Shin (a2)

Although some studies show that women are more likely to oppose free trade than men, others demonstrate that economic globalization empowers women. Given this paradox, we examine whether gender shapes individual preferences with respect to foreign direct investment (FDI) in developing countries. We hypothesize that women do not disfavor FDI more than men because multinational corporations (MNCs) bring more jobs for women, provide better working conditions and higher wages than domestic firms, and spread norms and values that favor gender equality. Moreover, this gender gap will be wider in more globalized countries because women can observe such benefits of MNCs. To test our arguments, we used survey data from the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project. Overall, women view FDI more positively than men, and this effect is stronger in economically more globalized countries and countries that are less dependent on agriculture. Women have a different view on FDI than that on trade.

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