Asia-Pacific Development Journal

The Asia-Pacific Development Journal (APDJ) is published twice a year by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. The primary objective of the APDJ is to provide a platform for the exchange of knowledge, experience, ideas, information and data on all aspects of economic and social development issues and concerns facing the region and aims to stimulate policy debate and assist policy formulation. The APDJ provides a scholarly means for bringing together research work by eminent social scientists and development practitioners from the region and beyond for use by a variety of stakeholders. The Journal aims to stimulate policy debate and assist policy formulation in the region.


Preferential trade agreements with labour provisions and child labour: evidence from Asia and the Pacific.

Many argue that the benefits of trade liberalization do not equitably accrue to everyone. To counter this trend, some governments have proposed adding labour provisions in preferential trade agreements. The eradication of child labour is included in most of those agreements. Using unique new data, the present study is an assessment on whether preferential trade agreements with labour provisions have resulted in less child labour in 18 developing economies in the Asia-Pacific region over the period 1997-2014. The analysis reveals that countries with more preferential trade agreements with labour provisions have lower incidences of child labour. Robustness exercises, however, show that those trade policies are unlikely to reduce child labour and that instead, improving educational access is likely to lower this phenomenon. Accordingly, governments tend to sign those agreements after labour market conditions improve. This is useful in that it signals to other countries their concern about labour standards, which have been found to increase foreign direct investment. Alternatively, signing those preferential trade agreements can protect their own labour markets from a potential race to the bottom.


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