Instruments for Promoting DW

As global competition may lead to a decrease in working conditions, minimum standards for labor have to be defined, to which all employers must adhere.

The ILO has formulated such standards but lacks effective sanctioning power to enforce them globally. Instruments that promise better enforcement have been promoted, such as public procurement, supply chain governance, and national minimum wages. However, the effectiveness of these instruments has been contested.

The ICDD therefore conducts empirical studies on the effectiveness of these instruments under this research cluster. In avoiding a ‘one size fits all’ approach, the research cluster takes into account contextual factors such as the degree of state capacities and the position in the international division of labor.

The central research question is how social clauses in public procurement should be designed and implemented in different state contexts. As an alternative to social chapters in trade agreements, codes of conducts have gained much attention. Yet, changes in supply chain governance may allow for moving beyond trade-offs between the economic and social dimension of sustainability towards realizing win-win situations, thereby improving working and living conditions.

Most international agreements on labor migration do not include monitoring of working conditions. Research investigates the impact of these agreements on the working conditions and lives of temporary labor migrants and the potential to include provisions for decent work and gender-sensitivity in future agreements. The ICDD intends to contribute to the debate on the best ways to address this lack of enforcement, through the following research projects: