oa Journal of Development Perspectives - Undressing the numbers: the employment effect of import quotas on clothing and textiles

Volume 2, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2006-2184



A primary justification for the implementation of quotas on Chinese imports of clothing and textiles from 2007 is the claim that over 60 000 jobs have been lost over the past three and a alf years and that these losses are directly related to the significant growth in imports from China over this period. Further, it is argued that the imposition of quotas, will not only reverse this decline, but will raise employment in clothing and textiles by 50 000 to 60 000. In this paper, we critically evaluate these claims through careful interrogation of the data. We find that estimates of job losses are exaggerated by inappropriate comparisons across different employment surveys. Alternative data suggest lower job losses. Estimates of employment increases are also unfounded requiring output growth in the quota protected sectors of up to 98 percent.

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