Export Expansion and Investment in Children’s Human Capital: Evidence from the U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement
We examine how export expansion induced by the U.S-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) affected migration, school enrollment, work and healthcare use of young children and adolescents in Vietnam. To do so, we exploit variation in tariff reductions across industries associated with the BTA and differences in industry employment shares across Vietnamese provinces prior to the policy change. We find that the BTA led to migration to the most affected provinces, particularly by adolescents (15 to 18) and young adults (19 to 29). The BTA also increased household expenditures, slightly decreased employment among nonmigrant adults and increased employment among migrant adults. Among adolescents, enrolment increased among non-migrants, but fell among migrants, with the opposite pattern for working. For children (7 to 14), enrolment did not change among non-migrants, but fell for migrants, who typically moved with their family. Conditional on being enrolled, education expenditures increased for both children and adolescents. We find evidence that healthcare utilization decreased for both children and adolescents.
We thank Nina Pavcnik for helpful feedback The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.