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Options for Enforcing Labor Standards: Lessons from Bangladesh and Cambodia

  • Günseli Berik
  • Yana van der Meulen Rodgers

This study examines labor standards enforcement and compliance in two Asian economies (Bangladesh and Cambodia) that have amongst the lowest labor costs in the world but are experiencing strong pressures to improve the price competitiveness of their textile and garment exports. Analysis of survey, focus group, and inspection data indicate differing trajectories in compliance with basic labor standards. While extremely low wages and poor working conditions have persisted in Bangladesh, compliance has begun to improve in Cambodia following a trade agreement with the United States that linked positive trade incentives with labor standards enforcement. These contrasting experiences suggest that in less developed countries governments consider trade-linked schemes to achieve improvements in working conditions without hindering export growth or job growth.

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Paper provided by University of Utah, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, University of Utah with number 2008_14.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of International Development, 2010 22, 56-85.
Handle: RePEc:uta:papers:2008_14
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Web page: http://economics.utah.edu
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  16. Gunseli Berik, 2000. "Mature Export-Led Growth and Gender Wage Inequality in Taiwan," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 1-26.
  17. Julien Burda, 2007. "Chinese women after the accession to the world trade organization: A legal perspective on women's labor rights," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(3-4), pages 259-285.
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