Labor rights, material interests, and moral entrepreneurship

Layna Mosley, Lindsay Tello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This article explores the role of moral entrepreneurship—activism by normatively focused groups, often acting nationally as well as transnationally—in labor rights activism. We focus specifically on activism related to US preferential trade agreements (PTAs). We explore how labor-related provisions have made their way into these agreements and how their inclusion has changed over time. Our main focus is on the efforts of interest groups to lobby US policymakers regarding various US PTAs. We discuss whether these lobbying efforts are cast in material or moral terms. In considering several PTAs during the 1990s and 2000s, we find that most efforts are based on material claims, or on a combination of material and moral concerns. We rarely observe lobbying activities that are cast purely in terms of the normative goal of protecting workers’ rights.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-79
Number of pages27
JournalHuman Rights Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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