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Laws, Costs, Norms, and Learning: Improving Working Conditions in Developing Countries

Author

Listed:
  • Brown, Drusilla

    (Tufts University)

  • Dehejia, Rajeev

    (New York University)

  • Robertson, Raymond

    (Texas A&M University)

Abstract

Working conditions in developing countries, such as those associated with the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh, remain stubbornly low despite strict laws regulating hours, pay practices and occupational safety and health. Recent theoretic and empirical work suggests that norms and learning may play a significant role in determining conditions. We exploit the natural experiment of Cambodia's 15-year experience with the Better Factories Cambodia program to identify variation that reveals the relative contributions of laws, costs, norms, and learning in improving working conditions in Cambodia. The results suggest that policies that follow from the learning hypothesis may be the most effective at improving working conditions in the long run.

Suggested Citation

  • Brown, Drusilla & Dehejia, Rajeev & Robertson, Raymond, 2016. "Laws, Costs, Norms, and Learning: Improving Working Conditions in Developing Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 10025, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10025
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    working conditions; norms; personnel economics;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F53 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Agreements and Observance; International Organizations
    • F66 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Labor
    • J8 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards

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