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STANFORD / Political Science / POLISCI 110 / What are labor standards?

What are labor standards?

What are labor standards?



What are labor standards?




• 4'core'labor'rights:'


2)'No'discrimination'based'on'race,'gender'ethnicity'or'religion' 3)'Elimination'of'worst'forms'of'child'labor'(controversial'point'because' some'see'household'productivity'as'a'necessary'stage'of'economic' development)'


• It'is'unfair'for'Europe'and'the'U.S.'because'we follow'these'rules'and'others' don’t,'which'lowers'costs'for'foreign'direct'investors.'So'we'are'fighting'to' enforce'these'rules'on'everyone'

• “Race'to'the'bottom”'idea:'everyone'will'continually'lower'their'standards' and'their'prices'to'attract'investment'until'the'value'reaches'zero.' • In'reality,'MNE'actually'have'high'costs'for'violating'the'4'standards'because' no'one'wants'to'buy'goods'made'from'slave'labor.'

Is the mechanism through which sanctions are supposed to work effectively?

We also discuss several other topics like Acromegaly is caused by?

• Also,'MNE’s'pay'higher'wages'and'so'we'expect'nonUwage'conditions'to'also' be'better.'

Effect%of Multi5nationalization%on%production%and%labor%standards%is% heterogeneous:%

• Firms'competing'for'lowest'prices'might'lead'to'lower'labor'standards' • Subcontracting/outsourcing: the'brand'name'is'not'on'the'building'so'they' are'not'held'accountable.

• Directly'owned overseas'affiliates:'we'expect'that'good'labor'practices'from' the'home'country'will'spill'over.'There'will'be'greater'ease'of'monitoring,' and'labor'standards'will'improve.'

• MarketUseeking'horizontal'FDI probably'has'no'effect'on'labor'standards' • EfficiencyUseeking'vertical'FDI on'the'other'hand'might'influence'labor • The'effect'is'heterogeneous'???? different'depending'on'the'case.'

What are the five main historical periods that krasner identifies?

Don't forget about the age old question of What are the five secretory cells?


• Studied'data'of'collective'labor'rights'

• 6'categories,'37'items'

• Found'that'the'averages'were'declining'slightly'

• However'nationally,'there'was'a'positive'correlation'between'FDI'and'labor' rights

• There'is'variation'by'firm'and'by'nationality.'For'example'there'is'an' observable'transfer'of'best'labor'practices'from'Scandinavian'countries'but' there'might'not'be'from'China.'


• Example:'Bolivia'and'President'Morales'–

• Morales'nationalized'internationally'owned'companies'and'changed'the'law' to'make'them'pay'82%'of'profits'to'the'state.'

• Because'of'the'lack'of'steady'legal'environment,'countries'investing'never' know'if'they'will'get'expropriated'which'would'discourage'investment.'


• Group'problem'activity,'see'handout'


Class 8  



Short answer (long paragraph) 6 questions: answer 5  Short essay 2 questions, answer 1  We also discuss several other topics like What is hydrogen peroxide used for?

(Exam example questions)  

National Security and IPE  

∙ International Economic policies can be a policy tool for national  security objectives  

∙ Positive inducements, such as preferential trade agreements or  free trade areas are used to reward good behavior strengthen  allies or generally promote peace

∙ A trade agreement might not matter for U.S. economy, but it  matters for them and we want them to be our friend.  

∙ Trade sanctions can be a form of punishment – on an industry or  an entire country  

∙ National security considerations influence international economic policies  

∙ Wars tend to increase the cost of trade and reduce the extent of  relations  

∙ Security power can be used to open up markets with military  power – force the open of a foreign market (Like imperialist  Japan)  

∙ Hegemonic Powers – free trade as a global public good that  requires sacrifices on the part of states in the world – collective  action problem: if there’s an asymmetric distribution of firms, we  expect that industry to do better of providing that collective  good. The “hegemonic power” will provide the good/ push for  free trade policies. Ex: U.K. in mid 19th century was influential in  promoting free trade. Ex: U.S. in the middle of the 20th century  got developed countries to adopt free trade, but less successful  among developing countries  We also discuss several other topics like What is the utilitarianism theory of ethics?

Hegemonic Stability Theory: 

∙ Krasner (1976): Argument: Structure of international trading  system follows distribution of potential power among states  ∙ What do states want?  Aggregate national income.  ∙ Free trade exposes a county’s economies to international shocks  (a negative, but this matters for some countries more than  others)

∙ Small states will be more susceptible to international shocks than large states  

∙ Developing countries have more adjustment costs. B/c developed countries have more mobile factors, makes them able to change  economic activities at a lower cost.  

∙ Political power is the relative cost of closure. Suppose we have a  liberal trade regime – whose interests are most threatened?  they have the least political power. So large states have more  political power.  

∙ Reason: effects on social stability are bigger in small states and  developing countries.  Don't forget about the age old question of What is the difference between disease and illness?
Don't forget about the age old question of How pathogen is transmitted from a reservoir to a host?

∙ Economic growth is a positive for small countries – for large  countries it might be good early and not as good later.  ∙ Krasner identifies 5 main historical periods:  

∙ 1) Increasing openness 1820-1979 (UK hegemony)  ∙ 2) Modest closure 1879-1900 (economic growth Germany and  U.K. etc.)  

∙ 3) Greater openness 1900-1913 (all the things we just said are  still true… so this doesn't work as well)

∙ 4) Closure 1919-1939 (a problem b/c after WWI, the U.S. is an  economic hegemon and military hegemon… Krasner does a  revision. Says there were too many vested interests in the U.S. to open trade. Some things in the world economy can’t be  explained because there are other domestic factors. This  institutional “stickiness” is another factor  there has to be  something big that shakes the system to force change)  ∙ 5) Great openness 1945-1970

∙ Periods 1,2 and 5 are exactly what Krasner would expect  

Trade as a Reward  

∙ Gowa and Mansfield: Think about the prisoner’s dilemma. If  trading relations in general are set up this way, trading with  allies and adversaries changes how difficult it is to solve this  problem. You have to consier economic externalities but also  security externalities.  

∙ Trade and investment are used to achieve national security  objectives  trade is linked to prosperity and a richer ally is  better than a poor one.  

∙ Both countries will have an incentive to defect on the agreement  ∙ But when this dilemma is repeated they use “grim trigger  strategy”  

∙ They will start by cooperating and keep doing so as long as the  other one does not defect, but if they do defect, then there will  be no more cooperation ever.

∙ Think about how this game changes if you care about their  payoffs a.k.a. they are an ally: How much you care about the  future is smaller if it’s an ally.  

∙ Sometimes politicians and voters don’t really care about the  future  when you trade with an ally, you don’t have to worry  about the future as much. This condition is more easily satisfied.  

∙ But when you trade with an adversary, you care much more  about what happens in the future – are they getting stronger  economically? (bad).  

∙ This is relatively more important in a bi-polar as opposed to a  multi-polar world. In a bi-polar world your chances of not being  an ally in the future is less, because you don’t have as many  choices: just us and them, and you are not likely to flip-flop like  that. But in a multi-polar world where alliances are really  dynamic, this is more applicable/important.  

∙ Example: states trade more with their allies during the cold war.  


∙ Example: current sanctions against Russia. Secretary Kerry  announced that it was possible in 2016 to reduce sanctions  against Russia because he anticipates an improvement in the  situation with Ukraine and the Minsk agreement.  

∙ Are sanctions an effective foreign policy tool or not?  ∙ Bi-lateral sanctions: one country against another  

∙ Multi-lateral sanctions: when you get a whole coalition to impose  sanctions  

∙ Example: We have had harsh sanctions on Cuba, but they  haven’t done anything we want them to.  

∙ Early work suggested that sanctions were relatively effective:  they look at 120 cases of sanctions and 34% of the time the  objective is met. Pretty good for policy!  

∙ Then this work got critiqued – what counts as success? In a lot of  the cases the sanctions didn’t work by themselves and so  countries actually used force to achieve their objective.  

∙ 8 cases had no evidence, 6 cases trade wars not sanctions, 3  success is debatable  

∙ So we are only left with 5 successful cases and they are for  extremely modest policy objectives, not huge things.  

∙ So actually, this is not that great….  

∙ Is the mechanism through which sanctions are supposed to work  actually effective? Surprisingly, the cases where sanctions were  most costly for the target, didn’t even lead to success in foreign  policy.

Problem 1) Sanctions affect the target overall, but not the  leadership  

Problem 2) Transit through third countries: bilateral  

sanctions frequently fail.  

Problem 3) Sanctions often target vague or improbably  goals (like Cuba becoming a democratic capitalistic  country)  

What about Russia?

∙ Putin’s approval ratings are like 90%. He has been able to  mobilize Russian nationalism in a big way. Maybe sanctions will  force Russia to isolate itself more, rather than realigning with  Europe and U.S.  

∙ EU has been slower to impose sanctions on Russia and appear  keener on removing it because their economies are affected  more by trade with Russia  this might make sanctions less  effective though because Russia knows the EU wants them gone  as well.

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