Pathology of Path Dependency? The ILO and the Challenge of New Governance

Posted: 12 Jun 2012

See all articles by Lucio Baccaro

Lucio Baccaro

University of Geneva

Valentina Mele

Bocconi University - Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management

Date Written: April 1, 2012

Abstract

Using archival sources, the authors study strategic and organizational change in the International Labour Organization (ILO) over the last twenty years. They focus specifically on the ILO’s efforts to incorporate certain elements of the "new governance" model into its policies and organizational practices, which include the shift from standards expressed as detailed legal norms to "soft law"; the active involvement of civil society organizations other than trade unions and employer associations in regulatory activities; and the introduction of quantitative indicators of compliance with labor standards. They argue that the efforts of the ILO leadership have been waylaid by the organization’s corporatist structure, which gives employer associations and trade unions veto power over policy developments at a time in which these actors are increasingly unable to agree on concrete policy measures. Finally, the authors ask whether this corporatist structure accurately reflects the ILO’s self-defined mission: providing "decent work for all."

Keywords: ILO, international labor standards, new governance

JEL Classification: F53, J40, J50

Suggested Citation

Baccaro, Lucio and Mele, Valentina, Pathology of Path Dependency? The ILO and the Challenge of New Governance (April 1, 2012). Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 65, No. 2, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2083084

Lucio Baccaro (Contact Author)

University of Geneva ( email )

102 Bd Carl-Vogt
Genève, CH - 1205
Switzerland

Valentina Mele

Bocconi University - Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

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