Sweatshops and third world living standards: Are the jobs worth the sweat?

Benjamin Powell, David Skarbek

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

27 Scopus citations


Many studies have shown that multinational firms pay more than domestic firms in Third World countries. Economists who criticize sweatshops have responded that multinational firms' wage data do not address whether sweatshop jobs are above average because many of these jobs are with domestic subcontractors. We compare apparel industry wages and the wages of individual firms accused of being sweatshops to measures of the standard of living in Third World economies. We find that most sweatshop jobs provide their workers an above average standard of living.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-274
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Labor Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2006


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