Workers, Firms, and Government: Understanding Labour Compliance in Global Supply Chains

Date(s) of Conference:

October 26-28, 2011


International Finance Corporation
Washington, DC


The last decades have witnessed a growing concern over labour rights and working conditions in developing country locations supplying for the global market. The Better Work research conference Workers, Firms, and Government: Understanding labour compliance in global supply chains aims at analysing the impact of labour standards compliance in global supply chains on firms and workers, looking at the ‘business case’ as well as at the ‘development case’ for labour standards.

Call for Papers:

The Conference will be articulated across the following thematic areas:

  1. Labour standards compliance and the supplier firm.  How does compliance relate to the competitiveness of supplier firms? Does it facilitate access to markets? Is there a subset of labour standards for which productivity gains are directly observable?
  2. Labour standards compliance and workers. How do improvements in working conditions and protection of worker rights translate into benefits for workers and their families? What are the implications for worker mental and physical health, household income, education attainment of family members and other indicators of well-being? What difference does improving compliance make to worker voice, representation at the workplace, and bargaining power?
  3. The impact of BFC/Better Work and related initiatives aimed at promoting better working conditions on compliance to labour standards, employment, industrial relations, workers’ wellbeing and broad development indicators as well as on competitiveness, profitability, export markets, and economic upgrading.
  4. Implications for public policy and industrial relations.  What is the role of Better Work and other private and multi-stakeholder regulatory mechanisms as instruments of global governance? What is the public good case for labour standards that may not directly enhance productivity? Where does the business case for labour standards end and the public good discourse begin?

Proposals of special sessions or panel may also be submitted specifying the rationale for the topic.

Completed papers or substantial abstracts (3-5 pages) should be submitted in English. Abstracts should include title and content of the paper, name and affiliation of the author(s), email and addresses for the corresponding author and the proposed thematic area addressed.

Abstracts should be submitted to together with a short CV of the author(s). The email should reference “Better Work research conference” in the subject line.  The deadline for abstract submission is March 31, 2011.

Contact Information:


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