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Positive Economic Freedom: An Enabling Role for International Labor Standards in Developing Countries?


  • Tonia Warnecke
  • Alex De Ruyter


Approaches to economic development have overemphasized negative economic freedom for multinational corporations at the expense of a majority of the population in developing countries. An inevitable outcome has been the growth of informal sector and "vulnerable" employment in developing countries and entrenchment of existing inequalities. We argue that rather than an emphasis on negative freedom, an emphasis on using labor standards to facilitate positive economic freedom must occur. Labor standards do this not only through the "core" rights of union membership and collective bargaining, but also in addressing substantive ("non-core") rights at work (wages, working-time, etc.), thereby facilitating positive freedom.

Suggested Citation

  • Tonia Warnecke & Alex De Ruyter, 2010. "Positive Economic Freedom: An Enabling Role for International Labor Standards in Developing Countries?," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(2), pages 385-392.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:jeciss:v:44:y:2010:i:2:p:385-392
    DOI: 10.2753/JEI0021-3624440210

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