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Spatialization, Foreign Direct Investment, and Labor Outcomes in the American States, 1978-1996

David Brady and Michael Wallace
Social Forces
Vol. 79, No. 1 (Sep., 2000), pp. 67-105
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2675565
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2675565
Page Count: 39
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Spatialization, Foreign Direct Investment, and Labor Outcomes in the American States, 1978-1996
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Abstract

Emergent trends in the globalization of the economy and the spatial restructuring of work portend many new challenges for workers around the world. Among the issues that have received insufficient attention is the impact of inward foreign direct investment (FDI) on labor in the U.S. Previous research has been inconclusive and plagued by a lack of empirical breadth and by insufficient theoretical explanations. In this article, we first outline a theory of spatialization as an extension of the social structures of accumulation framework to anticipate the likely consequences of FDI for workers. Second, we undertake an analysis of the forty-eight contiguous American states for the years 1978-96 of the consequences of inward FDI for labor's organizational capacity, labor dissent, and the economic standing of labor. Our analysis demonstrates that inward FDI has a consistent negative effect on these labor outcomes that differs for manufacturing and nonmanufacturing FDI. We suggest that our findings are consistent with spatialization theory and inform theoretical debates on globalization and labor in the contemporary U.S.

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