The Alta Gracia Research Project

The Alta Gracia Research Project is a multi-year effort to document the development and eventual success or failure of Alta Gracia, the only apparel factory in the developing world to:

  • pay workers a “living wage” (over 300% more than the legal minimum wage);
  • recognize a legitimate union and negotiate a collective bargaining agreement;
  • maintain high safety and health standards;
  • all verified by an independent labor rights organization. 

The latest Research Report, Alta Gracia: Four Years and Counting was released in August, 2014 and is available for download, along with a narrated power-point slideshow that is designed for use in classes or organization meetings.  This new Report analyzes the factory’s growing success; documents its impact on the lives of workers, their families and the local community; and contrasts this model with failures in the apparel industry’s current system of factory labor codes and monitoring.



Earlier Reports are also available, beginning with Alta Gracia:  Branding Decent Work Conditions (2010) which examines the factory’s start-up phase and summarizes the debate over “sweatshop” reforms; and Alta Gracia: Work with a Salario Digno (2011), a progress report that reviews the factory’s first year and a half of operation and presents ten cases of how a “living wage” changes workers’ lives.  Related studies, papers and articles are also listed below for further information.

Questions may be directed to the Project’s principal research authors:

John M. Kline

Edward Soule

Professor, International Business Diplomacy
Walsh School of Foreign Service    
Georgetown University
Washington, DC 20057    
(202) 687-5854


Associate Professor
McDonough School of Business
Georgetown University
Washington, DC 20057
(202) 687-2682


A Research Progress Report was released on December 5, 2011 that examines the first 18 months of operations at the Alta Gracia apparel factory in the Dominican Republic.  

For a copy of the 2011 Research Progress Report:  "Alta Gracia: Work with a Salario Digno"

An initial Research Report issued in August 2010, traced the factory’s origins in the anti-sweatshop movement and its initial start-up period.  "Alta Gracia: Branding Decent Working Conditions"

Many universities have labor codes of conduct covering the production of licensed apparel carrying their college logo. This “Issue Primer” draws on a study of nearly 70 different university codes and assesses the major alternative approaches to code reform. 

“Reassessing Collegiate Anti-Sweatshop Efforts: Can University Licensing Codes Meet Workers’ Basic Needs?”

Alta Gracia on the PBS Newshour

Georgetown University Office of Communications Press Releases:

New Students Don T-Shirts Made at ‘Living Wage’ Caribbean Factory

Alta Gracia: Continuing Georgetown's Leadership

Living Wage: Above and Beyond Anti-Sweatshop Codes