NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Kimberly Elliott

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Working Papers

January 2001White Hats or Don Quixotes? Human Rights Vigilantes in the Global Economy
with Richard Freeman: w8102
With the continuing expansion of global economic integration, labor standards in developing countries have become a hot button issue. One result has been a proliferation of efforts to use the market to put pressure directly on multinational corporations to improve wages and working conditions in their overseas operations and to insist that their suppliers do so as well. This paper analyzes the dynamics of these efforts in terms of a 'market for standards' in which consumers, stimulated by human rights activists, demand that corporations improve working conditions in supplier factories. The paper presents evidence that such a consumer demand exists and analyzes the incentives corporations face to respond to it. It examines the nature of the critical intermediary role played by activists in ...

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