Development, the movement of persons and labour law*

Adelle Blackett

in The Role of Labour Standards in Development

Published by British Academy

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780197264911
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754098 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Original Paperbacks

Development, the movement of persons and labour law*

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This chapter argues that rethinking the boundaries of labour law must include considering a broad range of public policy measures that not only intersect with labour law, but shape it. In particular, trade liberalisation and restrictions to the movement of persons influence our understandings of how labour is meant to be regulated. The chapter offers a brief historical framing and a discussion of some of the contemporary empirical literature, to capture employment effects of an asymmetrical liberalisation that has fundamentally called into question the embedded liberal compromise made by industrialised market economies. It argues that efforts to rethink the boundaries of labour law must engage with trade law and immigration law. In the process, it challenges the binary between trade versus aid. It suggests that it is neither acceptable nor strategically wise to resist the movement of persons for work and its development implications; rather it is time to focus carefully on the terms of that movement. Support for a notion of ‘reasonable labour market access for migrant workers’ must be accompanied by a ‘decent work complement’, which might take the form of a ‘reverse’ social clause.

Keywords: labour law; public policy; trade liberalization; employment; trade law; immigration law; migrant workers; labour market

Chapter.  10221 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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