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Labour and Environmental Standards: The 'Lemons Problem' in International Trade Policy

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  • Eugene Beaulieu
  • James Gaisford

Abstract

Environmental and labour standards have become an important international trade issue. This article examines and ranks alternative trade policy responses available to an importing country with concerns over such standards. While a full import embargo may sometimes be preferable to allowing unrestricted access to unlabeled noconforming imports, a partial embargo that allows imports which demonstrably conform to the standard is always a better policy; and labeling solutions, which separate conforming and non-conforming imports, are typically better still. Consequently, full import embargoes based on non-conformity with labour or environmental standards are poor policy choices and should generally remain prohibited by WTO rules. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2002.

Suggested Citation

  • Eugene Beaulieu & James Gaisford, 2002. "Labour and Environmental Standards: The 'Lemons Problem' in International Trade Policy," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(1), pages 59-78, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:25:y:2002:i:1:p:59-78
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    Cited by:

    1. Monteiro, Jose-Antonio, 2010. "Eco-label Adoption in an Interdependent World," MPRA Paper 20268, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Moonhawk Kim, 2016. "Enduring trade disputes: Disguised protectionism and duration and recurrence of international trade disputes," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 283-310, September.
    3. Dinopoulos, Elias & Livanis, Grigorios & West, Carol, 2010. "Country of Origin Labeling (C.O.O.L.): How cool is it?," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 575-589, October.
    4. Christopher Bruce & Andrea Laroiya, 2007. "The Production of Eco-Labels," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 36(3), pages 275-293, March.
    5. Stephen DeLoach & Jayoti Das, 2008. "Resolving the paradox of social standards and export competitiveness," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(4), pages 467-483.
    6. Freitas, Luiz & Wagner, Jeffrey, 2009. "The uncertain moral context of price changes," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 1100-1105, February.
    7. Kala Krishna, 2015. "Conditional Policies in General Equilibrium," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(4), pages 797-819, November.
    8. Dinopoulos, Elias & Livanis, Grigorios T. & West, Carol Taylor, 2005. "How Cool is C.O.O.L.?," Working Papers 15658, University of Florida, International Agricultural Trade and Policy Center.

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