International Labor Standards and International Trade

37 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2006

See all articles by Stephen S. Golub

Stephen S. Golub

Swarthmore College - Economics Department

Date Written: April 1997


This paper reviews controversies regarding linkage of international trade and labor standards. Pressures for international harmonization of labor standards arise in the context of increased trade between countries with large disparities in wages, and also reflect the history of labor standards. A critical distinction is made between standards related to fundamental human rights and those related to employment conditions. The main conclusion is that trade sanctions to enforce labor standards should not be an option, but that international agreements on core labor standards, with voluntary compliance, may, apart from being worthwhile on ethical grounds, defuse calls for protection.

Keywords: labor standards, social clause, World Trade Organization

JEL Classification: F13, J30

Suggested Citation

Golub, Stephen S., International Labor Standards and International Trade (April 1997). IMF Working Paper, Vol. , pp. 1-37, 1997. Available at SSRN:

Stephen S. Golub (Contact Author)

Swarthmore College - Economics Department ( email )

Swarthmore, PA 19081
United States
610-328-8103 (Phone)
Not Available (Fax)

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