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Global Apparel Production and Sweatshop Labor: Can Raising Retail Prices Finance Living Wages?

Author

Listed:
  • James Heintz
  • Justine Burns
  • Robert Pollin

Abstract

This paper provides some empirical evidence on issues raised by the global antisweatshop movement. We first consider the relationship between wage and employment growth, finding no consistent trade-off between them. We then measure the share of labor costs in the production of garments in the United States and Mexico. We find that the retail price increases necessary to absorb the costs of substantially raising wages are small, well within the range of price increases that polls suggest U.S. consumers are willing to pay. We close by considering some implications of these results.

Suggested Citation

  • James Heintz & Justine Burns & Robert Pollin, 2002. "Global Apparel Production and Sweatshop Labor: Can Raising Retail Prices Finance Living Wages?," Working Papers wp19, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  • Handle: RePEc:uma:periwp:wp19
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    File URL: https://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/working_papers/working_papers_1-50/WP19.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Erin Burnett, James Mahon Jr, 2001. "Monitoring Compliance with International Labor Standards," Challenge, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(2), pages 51-72.
    2. Singh, Ajit & Zammit, Ann, 2000. "The global labour standards controversy: critical issues for developing countries," MPRA Paper 53480, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Keywords

    Global sweatshop labor; empirical analysis;

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