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Globalisation, Women's Economic Rights and Forced Labour

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  • Eric Neumayer
  • Indra de Soysa

Abstract

Globalisation critics are concerned that increased trade openness and foreign direct investment exacerbate existing economic disadvantages of women and foster conditions for forced labour. Defenders of globalisation argue instead that as countries become more open and competition intensifies, discrimination against any group, including women, becomes more difficult to sustain and is therefore likely to recede. The same is argued with respect to forced labour. This article puts these competing claims to an empirical test. We find that countries that are more open to trade provide better economic rights to women and have a lower incidence of forced labour. This effect holds in a global sample as well as in a developing country sub-sample and holds also when potential feedback effects are controlled via instrumental variable regression. The extent of an economy's 'penetration' by foreign direct investment by and large has no statistically significant impact. Globalisation might weaken the general bargaining position of labour such that outcome-related labour standards might suffer. However, being more open toward trade is likely to promote rather than hinder the realisation of two labour rights considered as core or fundamental by the International Labour Organisation, namely the elimination of economic discrimination and of forced labour. Copyright 2007 The Authors Journal compilation Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2007 .

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal World Economy.

Volume (Year): 30 (2007)
Issue (Month): 10 (October)
Pages: 1510-1535

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Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:30:y:2007:i:10:p:1510-1535

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  1. Abu-Ghaida, Dina & Klasen, Stephan, 2004. "The Costs of Missing the Millennium Development Goal on Gender Equity," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1075-1107, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Neumayer, Eric & de Soysa, Indra, 2011. "Globalization and the Empowerment of Women: An Analysis of Spatial Dependence via Trade and Foreign Direct Investment," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 1065-1075, July.
  2. Potrafke, Niklas & Ursprung, Heinrich W., 2012. "Globalization and gender equality in the course of development," Munich Reprints in Economics 19305, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. Niklas Potrafke & Heinrich Ursprung, 2011. "Globalization and Gender Equality in Developing Countries," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2011-33, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
  4. Ulla Lehmijoki & Tapio Palokangas, 2009. "Population growth overshooting and trade in developing countries," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 43-56, January.
  5. Krieger, Tim & Meierrieks, Daniel, 2013. "The rise of market-capitalism and the roots of anti-American terrorism," Discussion Paper Series 2013-04, University of Freiburg, Wilfried Guth Endowed Chair for Constitutional Political Economy and Competition Policy.

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