Labor Standards and Trade
This paper explores the wide disparity of views on issues of international labor standards and the available options for addressing the issues involved. The discussion and analysis include: the definition and scope of labor standards; theoretical aspects of the economic effects of labor standards and the available empirical evidence; global, regional, national/unilateral, and other arrangements for the monitoring and enforcement of labor standards; and implications for policy in dealing with labor standards. It is argued that, because of the diversity of labor standard in countries with differing national characteristics, policies, and institutions, the case for devising WTO rules and disciplines to improve core labor standards in low-income countries cannot be convincingly made. Further, there are no compelling theoretical and empirical grounds to support the international enforcement and harmonization of labor standards.
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