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Globalization and Workers in Developing Countries

  • Martin Rama

    (Research Department, World Bank)

Stories on the positive and negative effects of globalization on workers in developing countries abound. But a comprehensive picture is missing and many of the stories are ideologically charged. This paper reviews the academic literature on the subject, including several studies currently under way, and derives the complications for public policy. First, it deals with the effects of openness to trade, foreign direct investment and financial crisis on averages wages. Second, it discusses the impact of exposure to world markets on the dispersion of wages by occupation, skill and gender. Third, it describes the pattern of job destruction and job creation associated with globalization. Because these two processes are not synchronized, the fourth issue addressed is the impact an unemployment rates. Fifth, the paper reviews the labor market policies that can be used to offset the adverse impacts of globalization on employment and labor earnings. Finally, it discusses how the international community could encourage developing countries to adopt sound labor market policies in the context of globalization.

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Paper provided by East-West Center, Economics Study Area in its series Economics Study Area Working Papers with number 41.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ewc:wpaper:wp41
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  1. Kristin F. Butcher & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 2001. "Wage effects of unions and industrial councils in South Africa," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(2), pages 349-374, January.
  2. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1998. "The Simple Economics of Labor Standards and the GATT," NBER Working Papers 6604, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Belser, Patrick & Rama, Martin, 2001. "State ownership and labor redundancy - estimates based on enterprise-level data from Vietnam," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2599, The World Bank.
  4. Cameron, Lisa A & Worswick, Christopher, 2001. "Education Expenditure Responses to Crop Loss in Indonesia: A Gender Bias," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(2), pages 351-63, January.
  5. Fallon, Peter R & Lucas, Robert E B, 1991. "The Impact of Changes in Job Security Regulations in India and Zimbabwe," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 5(3), pages 395-413, September.
  6. Anderson, Kym, 1996. "Social Policy Dimensions of Economic Integration: Environmental and Labour Standards," CEPR Discussion Papers 1440, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2001. "Trade, growth, and poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2615, The World Bank.
  8. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  9. Aitken, B. & Harrison, A. & Lipsey, R.E., 1995. "Wages and Foreign Ownership: A Comparative Study of Mexico, Venezuela, and the United States," Papers 95-21, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  10. Brown, D.K. & Dearorff, A.V. & Stern, R.M., 1993. "International Labor Standards and Trade: A Theoretical Analysis," Working Papers 333, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  11. Feenstra, Robert C. & Hanson, Gordon H., 1997. "Foreign direct investment and relative wages: Evidence from Mexico's maquiladoras," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-4), pages 371-393, May.
  12. Malathy Duraisamy, 2000. "Child Schooling and Child Work in India," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0837, Econometric Society.
  13. William T. Dickens & Kevin Lang, 1991. "An Analysis of the Nature of Unemployment in Sri Lanka," NBER Working Papers 3777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Takatoshi Ito & Anne O. Krueger, 1997. "Regionalism versus Multilateral Trade Arrangements, NBER-EASE Volume 6," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ito_97-1, December.
  15. Jean-Marie Baland & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Is Child Labor Inefficient?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 663-679, August.
  16. Kaushik Basu, 1999. "Child Labor: Cause, Consequence, and Cure, with Remarks on International Labor Standards," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1083-1119, September.
  17. Krishna, Pravin & Mitra, Devashish & Chinoy, Sajjid, 2001. "Trade liberalization and labor demand elasticities: evidence from Turkey," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 391-409, December.
  18. Alvaro Forteza & Martín Rama, 2000. "Labor Market "Rigidity" and the Success of Economic Reforms Across more than One Hundred Countries," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0600, Department of Economics - dECON.
  19. Bell, Linda A, 1997. "The Impact of Minimum Wages in Mexico and Colombia," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S102-35, July.
  20. Drusilla K. Brown & Alan V. Deardorff & Robert M. Stern, 1999. "U.S. Trade and Other Policy Options and Programs to Deter Foreign Exploitation of Child Labor," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9904, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  21. Beyer, Harald & Rojas, Patricio & Vergara, Rodrigo, 1999. "Trade liberalization and wage inequality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 103-123, June.
  22. Assaad, Ragui, 1999. "Matching Severance Payments with Worker Losses in the Egyptian Public Sector," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(1), pages 117-53, January.
  23. Richard B. Freeman & Remco Oostendorp, 2000. "Wages Around the World: Pay Across Occupations and Countries," NBER Working Papers 8058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Fretwell, David H. & Benus, Jacob & O'Leary, Christopher J., 1999. "Evaluating the impact of active labor programs : results of cross country studies in Europe and Central Asia," Social Protection Discussion Papers 20131, The World Bank.
  25. Alvaro Forteza & Martin Rama, 2006. "Labor Market 'Rigidity' and the Success of Economic Reforms Across More Than 100 Countries," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 75-105.
  26. Assaad, Ragui, 1997. "The Effects of Public Sector Hiring and Compensation Policies on the Egyptian Labor Market," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(1), pages 85-118, January.
  27. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1994. "Transfer Benefits from Public-Works Employment: Evidence for Rural India," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(427), pages 1346-69, November.
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