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Making Labor Flexible: The Recomposition of Tijuana's Maquiladora Female Labor Force

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  • Elizabeth Fussell

Abstract

This article revisits the debate over the benefits of export-oriented manufacturing employment for women by taking up Linda Lim's (1990) critique that such research is often biased in its methods and conclusions. Using a sample of 198 women workers from the 1993 Labor Trajectories Survey, I conduct a multivariate statistical analysis to test whether the social and demographic characteristics of the female maquiladora labor force influence their position in the labor market. I find that maquiladoras in Tijuana, Mexico, employ married women, women with children, and women with low levels of education who constitute a low-wage sector of the labor force with few other employment alternatives. In the drive to keep production costs low, multinational manufacturers have tapped into this low-wage labor force, thereby taking advantage of women's labor market disadvantages and making a labor force willing to accept more "flexible" terms of employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Elizabeth Fussell, 2000. "Making Labor Flexible: The Recomposition of Tijuana's Maquiladora Female Labor Force," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 59-79.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:6:y:2000:i:3:p:59-79
    DOI: 10.1080/135457000750020137
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Standing, Guy, 1999. "Global Feminization Through Flexible Labor: A Theme Revisited," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 583-602, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. James Heintz, 2011. "Global Labor Standards: Their Impact and Implementation," Chapters,in: The Handbook of Globalisation, Second Edition, chapter 13 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Chen, Zhihong & Ge, Ying & Lai, Huiwen & Wan, Chi, 2013. "Globalization and Gender Wage Inequality in China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 256-266.
    3. Elissa Braunstein, 2011. "Foreign Direct Investment and Development from a Gender Perspective," Chapters,in: The Handbook of Globalisation, Second Edition, chapter 10 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. 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.

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