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Global apparel production and sweatshop labour: can raising retail prices finance living wages?

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  • Robert Pollin
  • Justine Burns
  • James Heintz
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    Abstract

    This paper provides some empirical evidence on issues raised by the global antisweatshop movement. We first consider the relationship between wage and employment growth, finding no consistent trade-off between them. We then measure the share of labour costs in the production of garments in the US and Mexico. We find that the retail price increases necessary to absorb the costs of raising wages substantially are small, well within the range of price increases that polls suggest US consumers are willing to pay. We close by considering some implications of these results. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Cambridge Journal of Economics.

    Volume (Year): 28 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 2 (March)
    Pages: 153-171

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:28:y:2004:i:2:p:153-171

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    Cited by:
    1. Mathew Coakley & Michael Kates, 2013. "The Ethical and Economic Case for Sweatshop Regulation," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 117(3), pages 553-558, October.
    2. Günseli Berik & Yana van der Meulen Rodgers, 2008. "Options for Enforcing Labor Standards: Lessons from Bangladesh and Cambodia," Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, University of Utah 2008_14, University of Utah, Department of Economics.
    3. Michael Maloni & Michael Brown, 2006. "Corporate Social Responsibility in the Supply Chain: An Application in the Food Industry," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 68(1), pages 35-52, September.
    4. Luis N. Lanteri, 2013. "Determinantes económicos del nivel de empleo. Alguna evidencia para Argentina," Ensayos Revista de Economia, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Facultad de Economia, vol. 0(1), pages 73-100, May.
    5. Paharia, Neeru & Vohs, Kathleen D. & Deshpandé, Rohit, 2013. "Sweatshop labor is wrong unless the shoes are cute: Cognition can both help and hurt moral motivated reasoning," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 81-88.
    6. Benjamin Powell & Matt Zwolinski, 2012. "The Ethical and Economic Case Against Sweatshop Labor: A Critical Assessment," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 107(4), pages 449-472, June.

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