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Global Apparel Production and Sweatshop Labor: Can Raising Retail Prices Finance Living Wages?

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  • James Heintz
  • Justine Burns
  • Robert Pollin
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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 labor costs in the production of garments in the United States and Mexico. We find that the retail price increases necessary to absorb the costs of substantially raising wages are small, well within the range of price increases that polls suggest U.S. consumers are willing to pay. We close by considering some implications of these results.

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    File URL: http://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/working_papers/working_papers_1-50/WP19.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst in its series Working Papers with number wp19.

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    Date of creation: 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:uma:periwp:wp19

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    Keywords: Global sweatshop labor; empirical analysis;

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

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    1. Singh, Ajit & Zammit, Ann, 2000. "The global labour standards controversy: critical issues for developing countries," MPRA Paper 53480, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Erin Burnett, James Mahon Jr, 2001. "Monitoring Compliance with International Labor Standards," Challenge, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 44(2), pages 51-72, March.
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