Political Regimes, Trade and Labor Policies

40 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

Date Written: October 1995

Abstract

Authoritarian systems that repress labor are more likely than democratic systems to adopt inefficient labor policies inimical to development. The more open the trade regime, the fewer distortions in the labor market. What, if any, is the link between labor market policies that benefit insiders - for example, regulations guaranteeing high minimum wages and strict job security - and political regimes?

Is it true that in a democracy outsiders vote and impose limits on what insiders can achieve, whereas in a dictatorship the government need worry only about insiders who have real power? Or are democratic governments more likely to succumb to trade union pressure and use labor policies to give them special privileges? To test these competing hypotheses, Banerji and Ghanem designed a two-sector political economy model that demonstrates that labor market distortions depend directly on the trade regime: The more open the trade regime, the fewer distortions in the labor market.

They use cross-country regressions to test the relationship between political and civil liberties and trade and labor policies. Using data for 90 developing countries, they apply existing indices of openness and political freedom and two different constructed measures of labor market distortion. Their conclusion, based on the regression results: Authoritarian systems that repress labor are more likely than democratic systems to adopt inefficient labor policies inimical to development.

This paper - a product of the Office of the Vice President, Development Economics - was prepared as a background paper for World Development Report 1995 on labor.

Suggested Citation

Banerji, Arup and Ghanem, Hafez, Political Regimes, Trade and Labor Policies (October 1995). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=620611

Arup Banerji

World Bank

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Hafez Ghanem (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
58
Abstract Views
1,071
rank
425,771
PlumX Metrics