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5 Addressing Extreme Working Hours in China: the Contributions of Regulation Theory

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores how the problem of working time regulation in the People's Republic of China (?PRC') might be better approached. China's regulatory approach to working time is evidently influenced by foreign models, although there has been very significant domestic adaptation. Excessive working hours occur in many Chinese industries. The sector in which it attracts most international attention - commonly through shock stories about sweatshop conditions - is export oriented manufacturing, particularly clothing. The chapter discusses a radical and influential argument, devised by economists rather than legal theorists, that suggests China's regulatory style as a whole is inferior to that of other legal systems. It contends that Western regulation theory does have much to teach about addressing problems in developing countries but those seeking to apply it need to do so recognising the constraints imposed by a nation's ?regulatory style.

Keywords: China; excessive working hours; legal systems; legal theorists; regulation theory



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