IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/elo/wpaper/2008-03.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Resolving the Paradox of Social Standards and Export Competitiveness

Author

Listed:
  • Stephen B. DeLoach

    (Department of Economics, Elon University)

  • Jayoti Das

    (Department of Economics, Elon University)

Abstract

Over the last decade there has been increasing international pressure on countries to raise social standards (i.e., production standards based on environmental and labor conditions). Currently, the World Trade Organization does not allow countries to impose minimum standards on imports based on environmental or labor standards because it is assumed to undermine competition. There is no consensus in the empirical literature, however, to support this claim. In fact, the evidence suggests that while stronger environmental standards hurt competitiveness, stronger labor standards do the opposite. This paper offers one possible explanation for this paradox. In a simple model of incomplete information, externally-imposed standards may either increase or decrease the competitiveness of infant firms from developing countries depending on the degree of complementarity between the standard and the production of high-quality goods.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen B. DeLoach & Jayoti Das, 2008. "Resolving the Paradox of Social Standards and Export Competitiveness," Working Papers 2008-03, Elon University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:elo:wpaper:2008-03
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://org.elon.edu/econ/WPS/wp2008-03.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2008
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Brian R. Copeland & M. Scott Taylor, 2004. "Trade, Growth, and the Environment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(1), pages 7-71, March.
    2. Chisik, Richard, 2003. "Export industry policy and reputational comparative advantage," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 423-451, March.
    3. Cleopatra DOUMBIA-HENRY & Eric GRAVEL, 2006. "Free trade agreements and labour rights: Recent developments," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 145(3), pages 185-206, September.
    4. Klaus Conrad, 2005. "Price Competition and Product Differentiation When Consumers Care for the Environment," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 31(1), pages 1-19, May.
    5. Bagwell, Kyle & Staiger, Robert W., 1989. "The role of export subsidies when product quality is unknown," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 69-89, August.
    6. Bagwell, Kyle, 1991. "Optimal Export Policy for a New-Product Monopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1156-1169, December.
    7. Gene M. Grossman & Henrik Horn, 1988. "Infant-Industry Protection Reconsidered: The Case of Informational Barriers to Entry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(4), pages 767-787.
    8. Richard Chisik, 2002. "Reputational Comparative Advantage and Multinational Enterprise," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(4), pages 582-596, October.
    9. A.M. Ulph, 1999. "Strategic environmental policy and foreign trade," Chapters, in: Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh (ed.), Handbook of Environmental and Resource Economics, chapter 29, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. Uri Ronnen, 1991. "Minimum Quality Standards, Fixed Costs, and Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(4), pages 490-504, Winter.
    11. Mari Rege, 2000. "Strategic Policy and Environmental Quality: Helping the Domestic Industry to Provide Credible Information," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 15(3), pages 279-296, March.
    12. Leland, Hayne E, 1979. "Quacks, Lemons, and Licensing: A Theory of Minimum Quality Standards," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1328-1346, December.
    13. David Kucera & Ritash Sarna, 2006. "Trade Union Rights, Democracy, and Exports: a Gravity Model Approach," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(5), pages 859-882, November.
    14. Carl Shapiro, 1983. "Premiums for High Quality Products as Returns to Reputations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(4), pages 659-679.
    15. Eugene Beaulieu & James Gaisford, 2002. "Labour and Environmental Standards: The ‘Lemons Problem’ in International Trade Policy," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(1), pages 59-78, January.
    16. Jayoti Das & Stephen DeLoach, 2003. "Strategic trade policy in the presence of reputation spillovers," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116.
    17. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
    18. Wolfgang Mayer, 1984. "The Infant-Export Industry Argument," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 17(2), pages 249-269, May.
    19. Carl Shapiro, 1986. "Investment, Moral Hazard, and Occupational Licensing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(5), pages 843-862.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Dinopoulos, Elias & Livanis, Grigorios T. & West, Carol Taylor, 2005. "How Cool is C.O.O.L.?," Working Papers 15658, University of Florida, International Agricultural Trade and Policy Center.
    2. Haucap, Justus & Wey, Christian & Barmbold, Jens, 2000. "Location costs, product quality and implicit franchise contracts," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 69-87, October.
    3. Cagé, Julia & Rouzet, Dorothée, 2015. "Improving “national brands”: Reputation for quality and export promotion strategies," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 274-290.
    4. Dinopoulos, Elias & Livanis, Grigorios & West, Carol, 2010. "Country of Origin Labeling (C.O.O.L.): How cool is it?," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 575-589, October.
    5. Anna Nagurney & Dong Li, 2014. "Equilibria and dynamics of supply chain network competition with information asymmetry in quality and minimum quality standards," Computational Management Science, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 285-315, July.
    6. Jansen, Marion & de Faria, André Lince, 2002. "Product labeling, quality and international trade," WTO Staff Working Papers DERD-2002-01, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    7. V. Joseph Hotz & Mo Xiao, 2011. "The Impact of Regulations on the Supply and Quality of Care in Child Care Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1775-1805, August.
    8. Chisik, Richard, 2003. "Export industry policy and reputational comparative advantage," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 423-451, March.
    9. V. Joseph Hotz & Mo Xiao, 2005. "The Impact of Minimum Quality Standards on Firm Entry, Exit and Product Quality: The Case of the Child Care Market," Working Papers 05-28, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    10. Worth, Thomas, 1999. "Quality, Reputation, And Imports," 1999 Annual meeting, August 8-11, Nashville, TN 21567, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    11. John R. Bowblis & Andrew Ghattas, 2017. "The Impact of Minimum Quality Standard Regulations on Nursing Home Staffing, Quality, and Exit Decisions," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 50(1), pages 43-68, February.
    12. William Fuchs & Luis Garicano & Luis Rayo, 2015. "Optimal Contracting and the Organization of Knowledge," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(2), pages 632-658.
    13. Morris M. Kleiner & Evan J. Soltas, 2019. "A Welfare Analysis of Occupational Licensing in U.S. States," NBER Working Papers 26383, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Cuffaro, Nadia & Di Giacinto, Marina, 2015. "Credence goods, consumers’ trust in regulation and high quality exports," Bio-based and Applied Economics Journal, Italian Association of Agricultural and Applied Economics (AIEAA), vol. 4(2), pages 1-19, August.
    15. C. Simon Fan & Yifan Hu, 2006. "A Signaling Model of Quality and Export: with application to dumping," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_058, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
    16. Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, 2004. "Endogenous Market Thickness and Honesty : A Quality Trap Model," Industrial Organization 0408006, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Raff, Horst & Kim, Young-Han, 1999. "Optimal export policy in the presence of informational barriers to entry and imperfect competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 99-123, October.
    18. Mario Pagliero, 2007. "The Impact of Potential Labor Supply on Licensing Exam Difficulty in the US Market for Lawyers," CHILD Working Papers wp19_08, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
    19. Diego d’Andria, 2013. "The economics of professional services: lemon markets, credence goods, and C2C information sharing," Service Business, Springer;Pan-Pacific Business Association, vol. 7(1), pages 1-15, March.
    20. Mocetti, Sauro & Rizzica, Lucia & Roma, Giacomo, 2021. "Regulated occupations in Italy: Extent and labour market effects," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F18 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Environment
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:elo:wpaper:2008-03. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/delonus.html .

    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.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Jim Barbour (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/delonus.html .

    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.