Workers’ rights in global value chains: possibilities for protection and for peril

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


I consider the effect of global supply chain production–in contrast to directly owned overseas production–for labour rights in low- and middle-income countries. I develop a set of hypotheses regarding the conditions under which supply chain workers are most likely to experience improvements in their working conditions and procedural rights. In doing so, I highlight the importance of host country governments in the protection of labour rights: while private governance efforts have intensified in recent years, their success is conditional on local political actors’ interests in the protection of workers’ rights. Put differently, appropriate protections for labour require that the incentives of participating firms (foreign or domestic) and host country governments align. I also suggest how future research might best explore these dynamics, by focusing its attention at the firm and supply chain (rather than at the country) level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-168
Number of pages16
JournalNew Political Economy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 4 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


  • Labor rights
  • multinational production
  • supply chains


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