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Volume 146 (2007), Number 3-4

    The evolution of labour law: Calibrating and comparing regulatory regimes

    Simon DEAKIN, Priya LELE and Mathias SIEMS

    Using a newly-created data set which measures legal change over time, the authors present evidence on the evolution of labour law in Germany, France, India, the United Kingdom and the United States. Their analysis casts light on the claim that “legal origin” affects the content of labour law regimes. While some divergence between common law and civil law countries is found at the aggregate level, a more complex picture emerges from consideration of specific areas of labour law. The authors discuss the potential significance of this relatively new measurement-based approach to understanding the forces that shape the evolution of labour law.


    KEYWORDS: LABOUR LAW, LAW REFORM, LEGAL SYSTEM, LEGAL THEORY, TREND, FRANCE, GERMANY, INDIA, UNITED KINGDOM, UNITED STATES

    Monopsony as a metaphor for the emerging post-union labour market

    Christopher L. ERICKSON and Daniel J.B. MITCHELL

    How can employers worldwide be experiencing increasingly severe labour shortages in the face of globalization? Why don’t wages rise in expanding economies? This article argues that declining union power has allowed employers to take the upper hand, setting pay and other conditions of employment as they would in a monopsonistic labour market. Rejecting the perfect competition model matching supply to demand, the authors argue that, far from being a pedagogical curiosity, monopsony’s imbalance in bargaining power is widespread. Employee voice needs to be restored to counter the undesirable consequences of strong macroeconomic performance, such as wage inequality and reduced worker rights.

    KEYWORDS: LABOUR MARKET, LABOUR SHORTAGE, LABOUR SUPPLY, WAGE DETERMINATION, TRADE UNION POWER, NON-UNIONIZED WORKER, COLLECTIVE BARGAINING, WORKERS' PARTICIPATION, OECD COUNTRIES, UNITED STATES

    The right to work: Linking human rights and employment policy

    Guy MUNDLAK

    This article outlines various explanations for singling out the right to work from the roster of human rights, and emphasizes the dilemmas associated with regulating the labour market as a barrier to the development of the right. It compares two frameworks that address these concerns from the contrasted perspectives of human rights and employment policy – namely, the General Comment of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the European Employment Strategy. While these approaches are not natural allies, they can complement each other and construct an institutional system guided by the right to work as a superordinate norm.

    KEYWORDS: RIGHT TO WORK, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RIGHTS, HUMAN RIGHTS, EMPLOYMENT POLICY, DEVELOPED COUNTRIES, DEVELOPING COUNRIES

    Intermittent child employment and its implications for estimates of child labour

    Deborah LEVISON, Jasper HOEK, David LAM and Suzanne DURYEA

    Using longitudinal data from urban Brazil, the authors track the employment patterns of thousands of children aged 10–16 during four months of their lives in the 1980s and 1990s. The proportion of children who work at some point during a fourmonth period is substantially higher than the fraction observed working in any single month. The authors calculate an intermittency multiplier to summarize the difference between employment rates in one reference week vs. four reference weeks over a four-month period. They conclude that intermittent employment is a crucial characteristic of child labour which must be recognized to capture levels of child employment adequately and identify child workers.

    KEYWORDS: CHILD LABOUR, CHILD WORKER, CHILDREN, EMPLOYMENT, URBAN AREA, BRAZIL

    European employment models under pressure to change

    Gerhard BOSCH, Jill RUBERY and Steffen LEHNDORFF

    “National employment models” comprise the whole range of institutions that determine labour supply, utilization and demand in different countries. Based on a study of existing typologies of these models, this article explores their workings and their capacity to survive pressures for change. It compares different models’ attempts to safeguard decent working conditions in the face of product market deregulation and rising employment rates of women and older workers. It concludes that it is becoming increasingly difficult for European nation states to reform their employment models from within and argues for more emphasis on positive integration policies at the European level.

    KEYWORDS: EMPLOYMENT, EMPLOYMENT POLICY, MODEL, EU COUNTRIES

    Informality, the State and the social contract in Latin America: A preliminary exploration

    Jaime SAAVEDRA and Mariano TOMMASI

    This article sees informality in Latin America as a reflection of dysfunctional interactions between individuals and the State and of the latter’s inability to perform adequately in regard to redistribution and the provision of public goods and services. This translates into low rates of social security contribution and coverage; pervasive evasion of tax, labour and business regulations; and low levels of tax collection, law enforcement and trust in the State. The challenge for these countries, the authors argue, is to build more inclusive social contracts underpinned by realistic domestic consensus, taking account of country-specific institutional backgrounds and prevailing social norms.

    KEYWORDS: INFORMAL ECONOMY, WELFARE STATE, SOCIAL CONTRACT, STATE INTERVENTION, LATIN AMERICA

    Notes, debates and communications

    The (changing?) idea of labour law, by Guy DAVIDOV.
    Workers in the informal sector: Initiatives by India’s National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector (NCEUS), by K. P. KANNAN and T. S. PAPOLA.
    The ILO Century Project.

    Book reviews

    Asian informal workers: Global risks, local protection. Reviewed by Trilok Singh PAPOLA
    Diseño legal y desempeño real: Instituciones laborales en América Latina. Reviewed by María Cristina BAYÓN.


 
Last update: 28 January 2008^ top