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Labour Standards And The “Race To The Bottom”: Rethinking Globalisation And Workers Rights From Developmental And Solidaristic Perspectives

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  • Professor Ajit Singh

Abstract

There is a protracted stalemate between rich (the North) and poor (the South) countries over the question of minimum labour standards in developing economies. This paper is a sequel to Singh and Zammit (2000). It considers afresh key issues in the controversy. While fully recognizing the moral, political and philosophical dimension of this complex issue, the paper concentrates on the central economic question of the “race to the bottom”. It emphasizes the difficulties of establishing labour standards in the vast informal sectors in developing countries and suggests that the ILO conventions 87 and 98 should be amended to properly reflect these concerns. It also argues that ILO core conventions should be broadened to include the right to decent living. The overall conclusion is that labour standards are important indicators of economic development but their promotion is best achieved in a non-coercive and supportive international environment such as that provided by the ILO.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by ESRC Centre for Business Research in its series ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers with number wp279.

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Date of creation: Apr 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cbr:cbrwps:wp279

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Keywords: Labour standards; Globalisation; Informal sector; Economic Development.;

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References

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  1. Drusilla K. Brown & Alan V. Deardorff & Robert M Stern, 2001. "Child Labor: Theory, Evidence, and Policy," Working Papers 474, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  2. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2002. "Can Labour Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 33, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  3. Glyn, A. & Hughes, A. & Lipietz, A. & Singh, A., 1988. "The Rise And Fall Of The Golden Age," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 884, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  4. Kimberly Ann Elliott & Richard B. Freeman, 2003. "Can Labor Standards Improve under Globalization?," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 338.
  5. Blanchflower, D. & Slaughter, M., 1998. "The Causes and Consequences of Changing Income Inequality: W(h)ither the Debate?," Papers 27, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Hecock, R. Douglas & Jepsen, Eric M., 2013. "Should Countries Engage in a Race to the Bottom? The Effect of Social Spending on FDI," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 156-164.
  2. Ananya Reed & Darryl Reed, 2009. "Partnerships for Development: Four Models of Business Involvement," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 90(1), pages 3-37, May.
  3. Alan Muller & Ans Kolk, 2009. "CSR Performance in Emerging Markets Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 85(2), pages 325-337, April.
  4. Ajit Singh, 2005. "FDI, Globalisation and Economic Development - Towards Reforming National and International Rules of the Game," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp304, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
  5. Shirkosh, Mehdi, 2005. "The Case for an International Minimum Wage in the Context of Free Trade," MPRA Paper 2463, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. repec:ilo:ilowps:462650 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Brown, W., 2006. "The Influence of Product Markets on Industrial Relations," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0652, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  8. Singh, Ajit, 2007. "Globalization and Industrial Revolutions in India and China: Implications for Advanced and Developing Economies and for National and International Policies," MPRA Paper 24286, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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