Labor Standards in International Supply Chains

Labor Standards in International Supply Chains

Aligning Rights and Incentives

Daniel Berliner, Anne Regan Greenleaf, Milli Lake, Margaret Levi and Jennifer Noveck

Labor Standards in International Supply Chains examines developments in working conditions over the past thirty years. The authors analyze the stakeholders and mechanisms that create challenges and opportunities for improving labor rights around the world, in sectors including apparel, footwear and electronics. Extended examples from China, Honduras, Bangladesh and the United States, as well as new quantitative evidence, illustrate the complex dynamics within and among key groups, including brands, suppliers, governments, workers and consumers.

Chapter 10: Conclusion

Daniel Berliner, Anne Regan Greenleaf, Milli Lake, Margaret Levi and Jennifer Noveck

Subjects: politics and public policy, human rights, international politics, social policy and sociology, labour policy


Chapter 10 presents our conclusions and uses our analytical framework as well as the case studies presented in Chapters 6, 7, 8, and 9 to draw conclusions about how labor rights can be protected and improved. Chapter 10 argues that doing business and upholding labor rights are fundamentally political processes. The conclusion to our book points out that while advocates of improved labor standards may share a common purpose and, in that sense, interest, the distinctive interests of the members of a potential coalition may cause them to founder on the shoals of the collective action problem. Overcoming these internal obstacles requires political entrepreneurship and the establishment, itself a political act, of common beliefs about the best way to act in the given situation. Promoters of change must turn protest into a political resource. When they do, improved labor standards can result.

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