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Global apparel production and sweatshop labour: can raising retail prices finance living wages?

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  • Robert Pollin
  • Justine Burns
  • James Heintz

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 labour costs in the production of garments in the US and Mexico. We find that the retail price increases necessary to absorb the costs of raising wages substantially are small, well within the range of price increases that polls suggest US consumers are willing to pay. We close by considering some implications of these results. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Pollin & Justine Burns & James Heintz, 2004. "Global apparel production and sweatshop labour: can raising retail prices finance living wages?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(2), pages 153-171, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:28:y:2004:i:2:p:153-171
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Günseli Berik & Yana Van Der Meulen Rodgers, 2010. "Options for enforcing labour standards: Lessons from Bangladesh And Cambodia," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(1), pages 56-85.
    2. Paharia, Neeru & Vohs, Kathleen D. & Deshpandé, Rohit, 2013. "Sweatshop labor is wrong unless the shoes are cute: Cognition can both help and hurt moral motivated reasoning," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 81-88.
    3. James Heintz, 2011. "Global Labor Standards: Their Impact and Implementation," Chapters,in: The Handbook of Globalisation, Second Edition, chapter 13 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Michael Maloni & Michael Brown, 2006. "Corporate Social Responsibility in the Supply Chain: An Application in the Food Industry," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 68(1), pages 35-52, September.
    5. Luis N. Lanteri, 2013. "Determinantes económicos del nivel de empleo. Alguna evidencia para Argentina," Ensayos Revista de Economia, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Facultad de Economia, vol. 0(1), pages 73-100, May.
    6. Nursel AYDINER-AVSAR & Özlem ONARAN, 2010. "The Determinants Of Employment: A Sectoral Analysis For Turkey," The Developing Economies, Institute of Developing Economies, vol. 48(2), pages 203-231.
    7. Rouge Jean-François, 2016. "Sweet Sweatshops - A Reflexion about the Impact of Sweatshops on Countries’ Competitiveness," Economics, De Gruyter Open, vol. 4(1), pages 7-36, June.
    8. Benjamin Powell & Matt Zwolinski, 2012. "The Ethical and Economic Case Against Sweatshop Labor: A Critical Assessment," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 107(4), pages 449-472, June.
    9. Mathew Coakley & Michael Kates, 2013. "The Ethical and Economic Case for Sweatshop Regulation," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 117(3), pages 553-558, October.
    10. Christina Niforou, 2015. "Labour Leverage in Global Value Chains: The Role of Interdependencies and Multi-level Dynamics," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 130(2), pages 301-311, August.

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