43 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2009
This paper presents a capability-augmented model of on the job search, in which sweatshop conditions stifle the capability of the working poor to search for a job while on the job. The augmented setting unveils a sweatshop equilibrium in an otherwise archetypal Burdett-Mortensen economy, and reconciles a number of oft noted yet perplexing features of sweatshop economies. We demonstrate existence of multiple rational expectation equilibria, graduation pathways out of sweatshops in complete absence of enforcement, and country-specific efficiency and distributional responses to competitive forces and social safety nets depending precisely on whether graduation criteria are met.
Keywords: sweatshop equilibrium, on the job search, capability deficits
JEL Classification: J64, J88, O15
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