IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Accounting for the Gaps in Labour Standard Compliance: The Role of Reputation-Conscious Buyers in the Cambodian Garment Industry


  • Chikako Oka

    () (London School of Economics, Department of Management, London.)


Working conditions in global supply chains have come under increased public scrutiny. Faced with this growing demand for accountability, some multinational enterprises have come to play regulatory roles in developing countries where they do business. This article combines quantitative and qualitative methods to examine the effects of reputation-conscious buyers on supplier labour standard compliance in the Cambodian garment sector. Using unique factory-level panel data, this article shows that factories producing for reputation-conscious buyers are associated with better compliance levels than other factories, controlling for factory characteristics. Field-based interviews also demonstrate that reputation-conscious buyers regulate supplier compliance both ‘reactively’ and ‘proactively.’ The findings shed light on the opportunities and limits of buyer-driven regulation.L’attention du public est de plus en plus attirée par les conditions de travail dans la chaîne de valeur globale. Certaines firmes multinationales en viennent à jouer un rôle de régulation dans les pays où se situent leurs activités afin de répondre à cette exigence de responsabilité. Cet article combine des méthodes quantitatives et qualitatives dans le but d’examiner les effets des comportements « responsables » des acheteurs quant au respect des normes du travail par les fournisseurs dans le secteur du vêtement au Cambodge. A partir de données de panel originales au niveau de l’entreprise, cet article démontre que les entreprises produisant pour des acheteurs soucieux de leur image respectent mieux les normes internationales du travail que les autres entreprises, et ceci en utilisant les caractéristiques des firmes comme variables de contrôle. Des entretiens effectués sur le terrain soulignent également que les acheteurs soucieux de leur image ont un rôle de régulation vis-à-vis du respect des normes par les fournisseurs que ce soit grâce à leurs initiatives ou à leurs réactions. Les résultats mettent en évidence à la fois les opportunités et limites de la régulation par les acheteurs.

Suggested Citation

  • Chikako Oka, 2010. "Accounting for the Gaps in Labour Standard Compliance: The Role of Reputation-Conscious Buyers in the Cambodian Garment Industry," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 22(1), pages 59-78, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:eurjdr:v:22:y:2010:i:1:p:59-78

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Link to full text PDF
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    File URL:
    File Function: Link to full text HTML
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Yoko Asuyama & Dalin Chhun & Takahiro Fukunishi & Seiha Neou & Tatsufumi Yamagata, 2013. "Firm dynamics in the Cambodian garment industry: firm turnover, productivity growth and wage profile under trade liberalization," Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(1), pages 51-70.
    2. Andrea R. Hugill & Jodi L. Short & Michael W. Toffel, 2016. "Beyond Symbolic Responses to Private Politics: Examining Labor Standards Improvement in Global Supply Chains," Harvard Business School Working Papers 17-001, Harvard Business School.
    3. Ebert, Franz Christian., 2013. "Social dimensions of free trade agreements," Studies on Growth with Equity, International Labour Office, Research Department, number 994838513402676, June.
    4. Ebert, Franz Christian, 2013. "Social dimensions of free trade agreements," Studies on Growth with Equity 483851, International Labour Office, Research Department.
    5. Jodi L. Short & Michael W. Toffel & Andrea R. Hugill, 2016. "Monitoring global supply chains," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(9), pages 1878-1897, September.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pal:eurjdr:v:22:y:2010:i:1:p:59-78. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.