Comparative institutional advantage in the context of development*

Bob Hepple QC

in The Role of Labour Standards in Development

Published by British Academy

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780197264911
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754098 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Original Paperbacks

Comparative institutional advantage in the context of development*

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This chapter discusses how the theory of comparative institutional advantage might be applied in the context of development. In so doing, it draws on the work of Hall and Soskice on Varieties of Capitalism (2001) and the author's own work on Labour Laws and Global Trade (2005), which argued that nations prosper in a globalised economy, not by becoming more similar in their labour laws, but by building their institutional advantages on a floor of fundamental human rights. The chapter develops this argument in the context of national responses to economic crisis. It considers the issue of comparative advantage in trade, questioning assumptions relating to the sources of such advantage, and proposing innovative regulatory means of addressing current shortcomings. It advocates positive interaction of local, national, regional, and international measures which empower workers' voices.

Keywords: human rights; institutional advantage; economic crisis; trade

Chapter.  3704 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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