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The World Bank and core labour standards: Between flexibility and regulation


Murphy, HL, The World Bank and core labour standards: Between flexibility and regulation, Review of International Political Economy, 21, (2) pp. 399-431. ISSN 0969-2290 (2013) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 Taylor and Francis

DOI: doi:10.1080/09692290.2013.779591


Over the past decade, the World Bank has moved closer to accepting the International Labour Organization's (ILO's) core labour standards (CLS) and, in the process, sought to balance its promotion of labour market flexibility with a new focus on labour market regulation. The Bank's change of approach includes the 2009 decision to review and subsequently remove its labour market flexibility indicator (used to score the extent of labour market flexibility amongst its member-states) from its flagship publication, Doing Business. The aim of this article is to chart the softening of the Bank's emphasis on labour market flexibility and distil the contributing factors. With reference to the global financial crisis and the Bank's organizational characteristics, the article evaluates the work of international trade unions and the ILO as agenda-setters and compliance monitors and pro-labour industrialized states as ‘insider advocates’ in broadening the Bank's commitment to the CLS. The article demonstrates the influential nature of tacit coalitions between state and non-state actors representing a coalescence of normative values and economic interests. The Bank's changing approach to labour markets also contributes new evidence to the emerging, yet tentative, consensus that the neoliberal paradigm is undergoing a rebalancing, rather than an overhaul, in the post-crisis era.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Political science
Research Field:International relations
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:International relations
Objective Field:International organisations
UTAS Author:Murphy, HL (Dr Hannah Murphy-Gregory)
ID Code:89372
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2014-03-04
Last Modified:2017-11-15

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