« Previous | of | Next »

Understanding labour exploitation in the Spanish agricultural sector using an agent based approach

Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC)
Chesney, Thomas (main author), Evans, Keith (author), Gold, Stefan (author), Trautrims, Alexander (author)
Online journal article
Publication Date:
Spain: Science Direct
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, Funk Library, University of Illinois
Subject Term:
crops, diffusion, employment, ethical issues, farm workers, information issues, poverty, vegetables, agriculture, food production, inequality, Spain (Europe), capitalism, slavery, labor exploitation, wages, inter-organization communication, labor practices
9 pages., Via online journal., Using an agent-based model we explore the model of slavery in modern business developed by Crane (2013). Taking the Spanish agricultural sector—specifically the area of Campo de Dalías in Almería where much of Europe's vegetables are grown—as a case, we find that labour exploitation flourishes in communities of like-minded companies that do not care about mainstream norms. We confirm which socio-economic aspects of labour demand/supply lead to slavery, while challenging the assumption that markets which are dominated by few employers are more prone to exploiting workers. We find that, regarding isolation and connectedness of employers, cluster effects and intense inter-employer communication are particularly effective drivers of underpayment if the cluster is homogenous in terms of wage level and if it is isolated from law-abiding employers. This means that employers tend to confirm and reinforce each other in their illegal behaviour, thus creating enclaves in which non-standard norms prevail and worker exploitation is regarded as legitimate. On the other hand, we see that breaking the isolation of employees among each other only increases pay levels if there are law-abiding employers, pointing to the potentially beneficial role social business and entrepreneurs, state-owned companies, or public entrepreneurs could play for transforming labour conditions of entire markets.