Chapter 12: Evidence on the impact of labor provisions in preferential trade agreements
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In recent decades, and especially over the past 10-15 years, trade-labor linkages have become a prominent feature of public approaches to protecting labor rights under globalization. This chapter reviews the emerging literature on the effect of the introduction of labor provisions (LPs) in preferential trade agreements (PTAs). Qualitative and quantitative studies generally find that while LPs in PTAs have no impact on labor standards or exports from developing to developed countries, they tend to strengthen the labor administration and inspection. However, impact studies still suffer from data constraints and imprecise approaches to defining or coding LPs. Thanks to work to create comprehensive and fine-grained datasets on LPs in PTAs, this is changing. The emerging findings from select studies using the new data sources suggest more positive effects on labor standards and developing country exports than prior scholarship suggests. The datasets hold the promise of new and steady accumulation of knowledge.

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