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The Private Regulation of Labour Standards and Rights in the Global Clothing Industry: An Evaluation of Its Effectiveness in Two Developing Countries

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This article examines the effectiveness of private transnational regulation of labour standards/rights in the clothing industry. It adopts three objectives. First, the study focuses on national states in developing countries, explaining their lack of enforcement of labour law and the suppression of labour rights. Second, the article examines the effectiveness of transnational regulatory networks (TRNs) in raising labour standards/rights in producer countries. We conclude that, in a fragmented and highly competitive global industry, existing TRNs cannot ensure labour decent standards/rights. Third, we investigate the reasons for their limited effectiveness. We empirically investigate the conditions and rights of labour in the clothing industries of China and Turkey. In the case of Turkey, we are able to explain the lack of effectiveness of TRNs by drawing on interviews with a variety of actors in firms and networks.
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Keywords: China and Turkey; clothing industry; global production networks; labour standards/rights; regulation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Sociology, University of Cambridge, Free School Lane Cambridge, CB2 3RQ, UK

Publication date: February 1, 2011

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