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The systemic effects of labour rights promotion: a spatial interdependence analysis of its impact on working conditions and international trade

Guasti, Alessandro (2020) The systemic effects of labour rights promotion: a spatial interdependence analysis of its impact on working conditions and international trade. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

This thesis explores the complex system of relationships that links global labour governance, exports and work standards. Motivated by theories in the spatial interaction literature, it argues that the existing scholarship has largely overlooked the effects that a shock in one country, or firm, can have on competitors. The main argument of this work is that researchers should take a systemic approach to explore how competitive dynamics interact with trade, labour governance, and working conditions, and agree on shaping the outcome for the target country or firm and its competitors. The body of this thesis consists of three empirical papers that discuss these systemic effects. The first paper explores whether labour provisions in trade agreements (LABPTAs) with the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) affect working standards of the signatory countries and their competitors. Using a generalised method of moments approach, the paper finds that LABPTAs with the US can trigger a displacement effect whereby promoting decent working conditions in the signatory country results in increased labour abuses by competitors. The second paper examines how LABPTAs with the US and the EU affect the trade flow between signatory countries and their competitors. Using a structural gravity methodology, the paper finds that the more a country has competitors engaging in LABPTAs with the EU, the more its international export volumes will increase relative to domestic trade. This paper also finds that LABPTAs with the US negatively affect the trade of signatory countries. The third paper analyses the effect of the Chinese shock on child labour by examining its impact on Brazilian states and their competitors. The paper finds that Chinese trade penetration can increase the number of children working in the target states, but that competitors will engage in patterns of strategic diversification, reducing the overall number of children working.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2020 Alessandro Guasti
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Koenig-Archibugi, Mathias
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/4220

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