Production Goes Global, Standards Stay Local: Private Regulation in the Global Electronics Industry
University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science
Richard M. Locke
Brown University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science
Hiram M. Samel
Said Business School, University of Oxford
August 14, 2014
MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2012-1
Watson Institute for International Studies Research Paper No. 2014-13
Concerns about poor working conditions in global supply chains have led to private initiatives that seek to regulate labor practices in developing countries. But how effective are these regulatory programs? We investigate the impact of private regulation by studying Hewlett Packard’s (HP) supplier responsibility program. Utilizing quantitative and qualitative analysis of audit records, interviews with buyer and supplier management, and field research at production facilities across seven countries, we find that national context — not repeated audits, capability building, or supply chain governance — is the most important predictor of divergent workplace outcomes. Field research at factories shows that this effect is driven in part by interaction between private regulation and domestic regulatory and civil society institutions. Although the finding that standards stay local implies limits to private regulation in institutionally poor settings, it also highlights opportunities for productive linkages to local state and society.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 49
Keywords: Transnational governance, globalization, labor standards, regulation, corporate social responsibility
Date posted: January 3, 2012 ; Last revised: September 3, 2014
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