On labour standards and free trade
AbstractThe authors investigate the effectiveness and efficiency of alternative measures to increase standards in low-income countries. They do this in a two-country framework where (a) trade and standards in low-income countries are negatively related, and (b) free trade is no longer optimal for the high-income country due to a negative psychological externality that low standards in low-income countries exert. We find that any uncoordinated, unilateral action by the high-income country to decrease the psychological externality is dominated by coordinated action; both with respect to the psychological externality as with respect to the welfare consequences for both countries. Since any increase in the standard in the low-income country decreases their welfare, co-ordination is not always a feasible solution. Only when incorporated in the framework of the WTO, co-ordination can be made incentive compatible and gives rise to a situation where free trade again works to the advantage of both countries.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis in its series CPB Discussion Paper with number 11.
Date of creation: Aug 2002
Date of revision:
Other versions of this item:
- Michiel Kok & Richard Nahuis & Albert de Vaal, 2004. "On labour standards and free trade," Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 13(2), pages 137-158.
- D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
- F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
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