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On sweatshop jobs and decent work

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  • Chau, Nancy H.

Abstract

This paper argues that while rooting out sweatshop conditions raises unemployment, the potential gains include an increase in decent work employment, a pro-worker shift in distribution, and an improvement in overall efficiency. In a search model of employment inspired by firm- and household-level evidence about the harm that sweatshop conditions pose to workers' capability to be productive at work and to be vertically mobile, this paper unpacks the irony of job losses and efficiency gains by examining equilibria where, unless regulations are in place, employers tolerate unproductive sweatshop conditions, and where workers accept insufficiently compensating sweatshop wages.

Suggested Citation

  • Chau, Nancy H., 2016. "On sweatshop jobs and decent work," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 120-134.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:121:y:2016:i:c:p:120-134
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2016.02.002
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    Cited by:

    1. Basu, Arnab K. & Chau, Nancy H. & Soundararajan, Vidhya, 2021. "Contract employment as a worker discipline device," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 149(C).
    2. Bussemakers, Carlijn & van Oosterhout, Kars & Kraaykamp, Gerbert & Spierings, Niels, 2017. "Women’s Worldwide Education–employment Connection: A Multilevel Analysis of the Moderating Impact of Economic, Political, and Cultural Contexts," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 28-41.
    3. Bose, Pinaki & Compton, Ryan A. & Basu, Arnab K., 2020. "Paying for freedom: Indentured labour and strategic default," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 502-511.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sweatshops; Efficiency; Job search capability;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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