Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 12 > Issue 2

Escape Through Export? Women-Owned Enterprises, Domestic Discrimination, and Global Markets

Iain Osgood, University of Michigan, USA, iosgood@umich.edu , Margaret Peters, University of California, Los Angeles, USA, mepeters@ucla.edu
Suggested Citation
Iain Osgood and Margaret Peters (2017), "Escape Through Export? Women-Owned Enterprises, Domestic Discrimination, and Global Markets", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 12: No. 2, pp 143-183. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00015177

Publication Date: 06 Sep 2017
© 2017 I. Osgood and M. Peters
Firm ownership,  Gender and ethnicity,  Formal modelling,  International political economy,  Political economy
Women-owned enterprisesDiscriminationInternational tradeFirm ownershipGender and ethnicityInternational political economy


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In this article:
Empirical Strategy and Data 


Does globalization provide an escape from discriminatory legal and social institutions for women-owned enterprises? We develop an original test of this proposition based on a model of firm heterogeneity with discriminatory costs. Discriminatory institutions raise barriers to entry and increase costs of production, allowing only the most productive women-owned firms to survive. If the costs of discrimination are lower in export markets, the average surviving woman-owned firm is more likely to export and exports a higher proportion of total sales. Using a cross-national data set of firms, we show that while there are significantly fewer women-owned enterprises in countries with discriminatory institutions, these businesses export at higher rates. Global markets therefore provide an important, albeit imperfect, alternative to markets with poor protections of women's rights.