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Options for Enforcing Labor Standards: Lessons from Bangladesh and Cambodia

Author

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  • Günseli Berik
  • Yana van der Meulen Rodgers

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Günseli Berik & Yana van der Meulen Rodgers, 2008. "Options for Enforcing Labor Standards: Lessons from Bangladesh and Cambodia," Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, University of Utah 2008_14, University of Utah, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uta:papers:2008_14
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Muhammad Faisol Chowdhury & Tasnim Rezoana Tanim, 2016. "Industrial Accidents in Bangladesh Apparel Manufacturing Sector: An Analysis of the Two Most Deadliest Accidents In History," Asian Journal of Social Sciences and Management Studies, Asian Online Journal Publishing Group, vol. 3(2), pages 115-126.
    2. DiCaprio, Alisa, 2013. "The Demand Side of Social Protection: Lessons from Cambodia’s Labor Rights Experience," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 108-119.
    3. Vivek Soundararajan & Jill A. Brown, 2016. "Voluntary Governance Mechanisms in Global Supply Chains: Beyond CSR to a Stakeholder Utility Perspective," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 134(1), pages 83-102, March.
    4. Brown, Drusilla & Dehejia, Rajeev & Robertson, Raymond, 2016. "Laws, Costs, Norms, and Learning: Improving Working Conditions in Developing Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 10025, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. repec:spr:ijlaec:v:60:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s41027-017-0082-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:8:p:1344-:d:106573 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Robertson, Raymond & Brown, Drusilla & Dehejia, Rajeev, 2016. "Working Conditions and Factory Survival: Evidence from Better Factories Cambodia," IZA Discussion Papers 10026, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Hoang, Thi Minh Hang & Nguyen, Thi Lan & Nguyen, Hoang My Linh & Phung, Thi Yen & Tran, Thi Lien Huong, 2014. "Labour provisions in preferential trade agreements: potential opportunities or challenges to Vietnam?," Papers 917, World Trade Institute.
    9. repec:cog:poango:v:5:y:2017:i:4:p:60-68 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Working conditions; enforcement; labor laws; female workers; gender and trade;

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