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  • Author: Geoffrey Gertz, Homi Kharas
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The past 15 years saw the most rapid decline in global poverty ever, with the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the global poverty rate reached several years ahead of schedule. Building on this, governments around the world committed to a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including ending extreme poverty everywhere by 2030.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Cullen S. Hendrix
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: Feeding the world and teaching the world to feed itself is not just a humanitarian endeavor. It is vital to US national security. Food price–related unrest can have an immense impact on the stability of countries vital to US interests. Fortunately, the United States is well positioned to lead the fight against food insecurity across the globe. Even with increases in agricultural productivity, Africa and Asia have become increasingly dependent on global markets to satisfy their growing domestic demand for food. For example, Africa's 20 most populous countries are all net grain importers. This import dependence has made these countries more sensitive to food price volatility than ever before.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, National Security, Food Security
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: Greg Distelhorst, Richard M. Locke
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
  • Abstract: What is the relationship between trade and social institutions in the developing world? The research literature is conflicted: importing firms may demand that trading partners observe higher labor and environmental standards, or they may penalize higher standards that raise costs. This study uses new data on retailers and manufacturers to analyze how firm-level trade responds to information about social standards. Contrary to the "race to the bottom" hypothesis, it finds that retail importers reward exporters for complying with social standards. In difference-in-differences estimates from over two thousand manufacturing establishments in 36 countries, achieving compliance is associated with a 4% [1%, 7%] average increase in annual purchasing. The effect is driven largely by the apparel industry — a longterm target of anti-sweatshop social movements — suggesting that activist campaigns can shape patterns of global trade.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Greg Distelhorst, Jens Hainmueller, Richard M. Locke
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
  • Abstract: This study tests the hypothesis that lean manufacturing improves the social performance of manufacturers in emerging markets. We analyze an intervention by Nike Inc. to promote the adoption of lean manufacturing in its apparel supply chain across eleven developing countries. Using difference-in-differences estimates from a panel of over three hundred factories, we find that lean adoption was associated with a 15 percentage point reduction in noncompliance with labor standards that primarily reflect factory wage and work hour practices. However, we find a null effect on factory health and safety standards. This pattern is consistent with a causal mechanism that links lean to improved social performance through changes in labor relations, rather than improved management systems. These findings offer evidence that capabilitybuilding interventions may reduce social harm in global supply chains.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus