International Labor Standards: History, Theory, and Policy Options / Edition 1

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This book addresses the controversial call for international labor standards, seeking to productively further this debate by considering the economic implications and history of these standards. A result of an initiative by Professor Kaushik Basu in his capacity as member of the Expert Group of Development Issues (EGDI) sponsored by the Swedish Foreign Ministry, the contributions are based on discussions at a seminar held in Stockholm in August 2001. Compiling the best research in the field, this book provides a solid basis for policy decisions, while also serving as a challenging text for students in trade, development, and labor economics.

  • Analyzes the economic implications and history of international labor standards.
  • Productively furthers the debate about intervening with international labor standardsStems from a seminar organized through the Expert Group on Development Issues (EGDI), sponsored by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
‘Questions relating to international labour standards have been the subject of much controversy and research as several unions and some rich-country governments have sought to advance them through sanctions while most poor-country governments and some important and sizeable democratic unions in them have opposed this. This volume is an important and timely contribution to this debate, providing scholarly and penetrating research to illuminate the issues at stake. It is a classic that must be studied by everyone engaged in this debate.’ Jagdish Bhagwati, Columbia University

International Labor Standards is an extremely valuable and wide-ranging introduction to current debates over labor standards. The book gives a detailed history of standards; a broad and even-handed view of economic arguments for and against standards; and serious discussion of the problem of child labor. [It] concludes with an intriguing analysis of the potential role of the World Trade Organization in helping to raise standards. In place of the vitriole and rhetoric that the debate over standards all too often degenerates into, this volume is a serious investigation of what we know and do not know in this area.’ Richard Freeman, London School of Economics

‘This impressive book brings together some of the best research on the important and controversial topic of international labor standards. The contributions are illuminating and provocative, and they provide a valuable scientific foundation for policy debates.’ Kyle Bagwell, Columbia University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405105552
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/28/2003
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Kaushik Basu is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies in the Economics Department at Cornell University. He is Editor of Social Choice and Welfare and Associate Editor of The Journal of Economic Perspectives and The Journal of Development Economics. He is the author of many books and articles, including The Less Developed Economy, (Blackwell Publishers, 1984), Lectures in Industrial Organization Theory (Blackwell Publishers, 1993), and Analytical Development Economics (1997).

Henrik Horn is Professor of International Economics at Stockholm University. His current research focuses on various aspects of the WTO, with particular emphasis on the functioning of its Dispute Settlement system.

Lisa Román is the Secretary to the Expert Group on Development Issues (EGDI) and has been with the secretariat since 1999. She has a background as a development economist and is the author of Institutions in Transition: Vietnamese State Bank Reform (1999).

Judith Shapiro is Professor of Health Economics at the New Economic School, and has been a member of the EGDI since 1995. She is the author of a number of articles on Russian health, labor and mortality, and three co-authored books on transformation and integration in Eastern Europe.

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Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures
List of Acronyms
List of Contributors
Pt. I Introduction 1
Pt. II The Evolution of Labor Standards 7
Ch. 1 The History and Political Economy of International Labor Standards 9
Commentary 1.1 The Parallels Between the Past and the Present 84
Commentary 1.2 Legislation Versus Bargaining Power: The Evolution of Scandinavian Labor Standards 99
Pt. III The Theory of International Labor Standards 105
Ch. 2 The Impact of International Labor Standards: A Survey of Economic Theory 107
Commentary 2.1 Old Wine in New Bottles? 182
Commentary 2.2 Governing Labor Relations 187
Pt. IV The Issue of Child Labor 193
Ch. 3 Child Labor: Theory, Evidence, and Policy 195
Commentary 3.1 The Political Economy of Child Labor 248
Commentary 3.2 Social Norms, Coordination, and Policy Issues in the Fight Against Child Labor 256
Pt. V The International Organization and Enforcement of Labor Standards 271
Ch. 4 A Role for the WTO 273
Commentary 4.1 Trade and Labor Standards: To Link or Not to Link? 309
Commentary 4.2 The Need to Micro-Manage Regulatory Diversity 314
Index 326
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