The Race to the Bottom, from the Bottom

58 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2001

See all articles by Nancy H. Chau

Nancy H. Chau

Cornell University - School of Applied Economics and Management; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Ravi Kanbur

Cornell University; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2001

Abstract

The dominant perspective in discussions of labour and environmental standards and globalization is that of North-South competition and its impact on Northern standards. This Paper presents an alternative perspective, that of South-South competition to export to the North, and its impact on Southern standards. It develops a simple model of Southern competition on standards, which can begin to provide insights into some key questions. A Southern race to the bottom is possible but not inevitable. It depends intricately on the Northern demand curve, the size of big exporters relative to each other, and the relative size of the competitive fringe of small exporters ? a precise and complete characterization is developed in the Paper. The Paper also analyses the effect of Northern tariffs on Southern strategic competition in standards. It is shown that Northern trade protectionism undermines Southern standards.

Keywords: Labour and Environmental Standards, Logconcavity and Logconvexity, Race to the Bottom, Strategic Complementarity and Substitutability, Trade Restrictions

JEL Classification: F16, J38

Suggested Citation

Chau, Nancy H. and Kanbur, Ravi, The Race to the Bottom, from the Bottom (February 2001). CEPR Discussion Paper No. 2687. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=261717

Nancy H. Chau (Contact Author)

Cornell University - School of Applied Economics and Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-4463 (Phone)
607-255-9984 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Ravi Kanbur

Cornell University ( email )

301-J Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-7966 (Phone)
607-255-9984 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.kanbur.dyson.cornell.edu

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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