Collaborative Research Networks

CRN08  Labor Rights


Olívia Pasqualeto, Yiran Zhang, Andrew Elmore

In a global economy, there is a need for new approaches to the age-old challenge of protecting workers’ rights and improving labor standards. Globalization affects the nature of work and the character of the employment relationship around the world.  Pressures on firms to improve competitiveness through restructuring workforces and production across national borders have led to increased challenges for nation-states. States in the North look for ways to preserve existing levels of employment and income support while those in the South struggle to simultaneously promote growth and investment and raise labor standards. To these ends, national laws may need to be revised, international norms developed, and transnational advocacy explored.

This network seeks to encourage research by sociolegal scholars on these issues and bring sociolegal scholars and experts on industrial relations together.  We hope to foster work along two intersecting dimensions. First, what is the impact of changes in firms, production processes and global market forces on work, workforces, and worker’s rights and conditions in the North and South? Second, how do existing legal institutions function and what kinds of new governance mechanisms are needed? We hope to explore the role of states, courts, unions, NGO’s, existing international institutions such as the ILO, ‘social clauses’ in trade agreements, the World Bank and other IFI’s, as well as industries and private firms through codes of conduct and otherwise.


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