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The Race to the Bottom, from the Bottom


The dominant perspective in discussions of labour and environmental standards and globalization is that of North-South competition and its impact on Northern standards. This paper presents an alternative perspective, that of South-South competition to export to the North and its impact on Southern standards. It develops a simple model of Southern competition, and demonstrates that whether a Southern race to the bottom is possible depends intricately on the Northern demand curve, the size of large exporters relative to each other and the relative size of the competitive fringe of small exporters. The possibility that Northern trade protectionism may undermine Southern standards is also examined. Copyright (c) The London School of Economics and Political Science 2006.

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Article provided by London School of Economics and Political Science in its journal Economica.

Volume (Year): 73 (2006)
Issue (Month): 290 (05)
Pages: 193-228

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Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:73:y:2006:i:290:p:193-228
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  1. Drusilla K. Brown, 2000. "International Trade and Core Labor Standards: A Survey of the Recent Literature," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0005, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  2. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521469579 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Jim Rollo & L. Alan Winters, 2000. "Subsidiarity and Governance Challenges for the WTO: Environmental and Labour Standards," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(04), pages 561-576, 04.
  4. Bulow, Jeremy I & Geanakoplos, John D & Klemperer, Paul D, 1985. "Multimarket Oligopoly: Strategic Substitutes and Complements," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 488-511, June.
  5. 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.
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