This innovative book assesses the impact of labour standards on the competitiveness of firms through a comparison of developing and industrialized countries. The lack of a strict code of labour standards in developing countries is thought to result in unfair competition, which industrialized countries have used to justify protectionist policies. Developing countries are seen to oppose the adoption of labour standards, believing that such measures are likely to jeopardize their competitiveness in world markets. This book analyses both of these positions within the context of the current political debate on the subject. The authors investigate the reasons for implementing labour standards, and measure their impact upon firm competitiveness using a variety of empirical tests and statistics from approximately 165 countries. They conclude that labour standards do not have a significant impact on the competitiveness of firms or economies as a whole. From their evidence the authors offer policy advice including the decentralization of decision making for implementing labour standards, and the adoption throughout the world of core labour standards. Labour Standards and International Competitiveness will be welcomed by academics interested in international economics, development economics and labour economics, as well as by policymakers and practitioners working in international organizations.