The Em­ploy­ment Chal­len­ge: Towards a Tra­de and Cur­ren­cy Re­gime for De­cent Work

The Em­­ploy­­ment Chal­­len­­ge: Towards a Tra­­de and Cur­­ren­­cy Re­gime for De­­cent Work

Picture description: A safety inspector looks over containers alongside the Jebel Ali Free Zone, the oldest and largest free trade zone in Dubai, United Arab


Year: 2011

Project Coordinators:
Prof. Dr. Christoph Scherrer
Prof. Dr. Hansjörg Herr
Prof. Dr. Simone Deos
Prof. Dr. Ana Rosa Ribeiro de Mendonça
Dr. Adriana Nunes Ferreira

Research Cluster:
Instruments for Promoting Decent Work

Project's aims:
Investigate the relationship between trade and capital account liberalizations, and employment creation that does not rest on a downward push of working conditions and wages


The European Union's turn to bilateral Free Trade Agreements with countries where code labor rights are violated regularly has led to the request for social chapters in trade agreements. However, a systematic determination of the content of such social chapters has been lacking so far. This interdisciplinary research project (economics, law, political science) fills the gap. First, it looks at the economic justification for a social chapter. Second, it discusses which kind of sanctions would fulfill political criteria of legitimacy. Third, it explores the compatibility of social chapters with GATT rules. The sum of the findings informs sample texts for social chapters in EU trade agreements differentiated according to the level of industrialization of the partner countries.

Ex­pec­ted Cont­ri­bu­ti­on to the De­cent Work Agen­da

We attempt to identify employment creating trade and capital account regime that does not rest on a downward push of working conditions and wages but adheres to the ILO’s ´Decent Work` agenda.


  • Scherrer, C., & Hänlein, A. (2012). Sozialkapitel in Handelsabkommen. Begründungen und Vorschläge aus juristischer, ökonomischer und politologischer Sicht, Baden-Baden.