Parallel Paths to Enforcement: Private Compliance, Public Regulation, and Labor Standards in the Brazilian Sugar Sector

45 Pages Posted: 26 May 2013

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 4, 2013

Abstract

In recent years, global corporations and national governments have been enacting a growing number of codes of conduct and labor laws to combat dangerous or degrading work conditions in global supply chains. On the receiving end of this activity, local producers must contend with multiple regulations and verification systems, but it is not clear how these systems interact and the results they produce. This paper examines the public and private enforcement of labor standards in the sugarcane, sugar and ethanol sector in Brazil. It finds that private and public agents refuse to communicate with each other, but they act in ways that reinforce each other’s actions. On one side, labor inspectors and prosecutors use their broad legal powers to outlaw some forms of outsourcing. On the other side, private auditors use their extensive access to targeted businesses and the trust they command as insiders to help them engage in a process of workplace transformation that makes it easier for firms to comply. Although these public and private agents refused to cooperate with one another, their parallel enforcement actions blocked the low road and steered targeted firms to a higher road that made compliance with labor standards not only viable, but sometimes even desirable.

Suggested Citation

Coslovsky, Salo V. and Locke, Richard, Parallel Paths to Enforcement: Private Compliance, Public Regulation, and Labor Standards in the Brazilian Sugar Sector (May 4, 2013). MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2013-25. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2269774 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2269774

Salo V. Coslovsky

New York University (NYU) ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

Richard Locke (Contact Author)

Brown University ( email )

111 Thayer Street
Box 1970
Providence, RI 02912-1970
United States
(401) 863-3596 (Phone)

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