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An institutional and compliance approach to labour standards in Central America and the Dominican Republic

Frey, Diane F (2012) An institutional and compliance approach to labour standards in Central America and the Dominican Republic. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis considers how to establish respect for labour rights. It aims to inform the analysis of compliance problems and create a diagnostic approach to implementing labour rights. The ultimate goal is to provide insight into the interventions necessary to progressively implement labour rights as defined in international law. The project creates a conceptual framing of labour rights by joining two theoretical approaches: institutions theory and compliance theory. Drawing on institutions theory from political economy, the thesis reframes labour rights regulations, as holistic institutions comprised of rules, norms and actual behaviours, the so-called ‘rules of the game’ in employment. In this context, problems in implementing labour rights are understood as employment practices that are embedded in a web of formal and informal rules governing work within society. Once, reframed in institutional terms, employment practices that violate labour rights can then be analyzed and shortcomings identified using compliance theory. Compliance theory is well suited to institutional approaches because it, like institutions theory treats norms, rules and behaviours as critical components in achieving compliance. The thesis integrates the framework into a diagnostic methodology and tool for comparison of labour rights compliance among the countries that are parties to the Dominican Republic, Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA). It applies the methodology to two cases. The first case examines obligatory overtime and trafficking and the second focuses on freedom of association. The analyses are based on publicly available documentary evidence from distinct perspectives such as the International Confederation of Trade Unions (ICFTU), the United States State Department Human Rights Reports and ILO Committee of Experts reports and observations. The thesis concludes that the diagnostic methodology can help to uncover institutional patterns associated with labour rights compliance problems as well as problems with the international legal norms themselves.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Diane Frey
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Sets: Departments > Management
Supervisor: Hyman, Richard

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