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Global Value Chains (GVCs) serve as significant sources of employment for developing countries, with various impacts upon their labour markets and workers. While participation in GVCs is important for economic upgrading, there is concern about a ‘race to the bottom’ happening in global competition. This paper attempts to understand how economic upgrading and decent working conditions interact in the proliferating GVCs, by looking at the garment exporting countries in Asia. It argues that worker profiles as well as local economic and labour market conditions have important implications on how competitiveness plays out in terms of working conditions.

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