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How Well Are We Measuring Workers’ Rights?


  • L. Josh Bivens

    (Economic Policy Institute, 1660 L Street NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20036, USA,

  • Adam S. Hersh

    (University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Department of Economics, Amherst, MA 01003, USA,

  • Christian E. Weller

    (Center for American Progress, 1333 H Street NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20005, USA,


The literature overwhelmingly supports the proposition that high-quality domestic institutions are a precondition for economic growth. Political freedoms have been shown to contribute to this institutional quality. A smaller literature suggests that the adoption and enforcement of core labor standards (CLS) that protect the rights of workers can be an important boon for economic development. This article aims to lay a stronger groundwork for the literature linking workers’ rights and economic outcomes by examining more closely some of the proxies that have been used to measure these rights. Our results suggest that the ratification of CLS is only weakly correlated with the improvement of broader political freedoms. The figures also show some link between CLS ratification and proxies for actual rights enjoyed by workers.

Suggested Citation

  • L. Josh Bivens & Adam S. Hersh & Christian E. Weller, 2005. "How Well Are We Measuring Workers’ Rights?," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 37(3), pages 302-310, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:reorpe:v:37:y:2005:i:3:p:302-310

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    Cited by:

    1. Jean-Marie Cardebat & Alexandru Dimitrescu, 2011. "Social Responsibility of the countries and their international trade : A gravitational approach," Larefi Working Papers 1102, Larefi, Université Bordeaux 4.

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    economic growth; labor standards; institutions;


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