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Does Latin American and Caribbean Unemployment Depend on Asian Labor Standards?

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  • Patrick Belser

Abstract

Many Latin American nations have recently implemented liberal trade regimes, often as part of a larger set of market-oriented reforms, and have abandoned their industrialization policies based on import substitution. In the 1980s, Chile, Mexico, and Bolivia were among the continent`s first nations to slash tariff rates and virtually eliminate quantitative restrictions on imports. They were followed by many others, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Trinidad and Tobago. All these countries are now much more exposed to international competition than ever before. But is this a good idea? Are labor rights really more restricted in export-oriented Asian nations than they are in Latin America? And if so, are Latin American workers prejudiced by Asia`s lower standards?

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 4132.

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Date of creation: Aug 1998
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4132

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  1. Brown, D.K. & Dearorff, A.V. & Stern, R.M., 1993. "International Labor Standards and Trade: A Theoretical Analysis," Working Papers 333, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  2. Adrian Wood & Kersti Berge, 1997. "Exporting manufactures: Human resources, natural resources, and trade policy," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(1), pages 35-59.
  3. Adrian Wood, 1995. "How Trade Hurt Unskilled Workers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 57-80, Summer.
  4. Luiz de Mello, 1997. "Foreign direct investment in developing countries and growth: A selective survey," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(1), pages 1-34.
  5. Wood, Adrian, 1997. "Openness and Wage Inequality in Developing Countries: The Latin American Challenge to East Asian Conventional Wisdom," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(1), pages 33-57, January.
  6. David A. Riker & S. Lael Brainard, 1997. "U.S. Multinationals and Competition from Low Wage Countries," NBER Working Papers 5959, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Stephanie Seguino, 1997. "Gender wage inequality and export-led growth in South Korea," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(2), pages 102-132.
  8. Maskus, Keith E., 1997. "Should core labor standards be imposed through international trade policy?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1817, The World Bank.
  9. Owens, Trudy & Wood, Adrian, 1997. "Export-oriented industrialization through primary processing?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(9), pages 1453-1470, September.
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