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Why do states commit to international labor standards?: interdependent ratification of core ILO conventions, 1948-2009

Baccini, Leonardo and Koenig-Archibugi, Mathias ORCID: 0000-0003-4637-9477 (2014) Why do states commit to international labor standards?: interdependent ratification of core ILO conventions, 1948-2009. World Politics, 66 (3). pp. 446-490. ISSN 0043-8871

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0043887114000124


Ratifying core conventions adopted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) creates legal obligations to improve labor standards in the domestic economy, notably with regard to union rights, minimum age and discrimination in employment, and forced labor. Why and when do states choose to ratify them? Two influential theoretical approaches lead to the expectation that states are influenced by the ratification behavior of other states. Drawing on rationalist institutionalism, the authors expect states to use institutions such as the ILO to improve or consolidate their preferred standards domestically while reducing the risk of suffering competitive disadvantages in world markets. In this view, ILO conventions are devices for the prevention and mitigation of regulatory races to the bottom among trade rivals. Drawing on sociological institutionalism, they expect states to ratify ILO conventions if doing so conforms to a norm of appropriate behavior that is prevalent in a state's peer groups. This article develops observable implications of these hypotheses and tests them by applying spatial regression models to seven core ILO conventions and 187 countries between 1948 and 2009. The analysis yields strong evidence in support of both hypotheses.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Trustees of Princeton University
Divisions: Government
International Relations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
J Political Science > JZ International relations
JEL classification: J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J5 - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining > J53 - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2014 11:41
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:11

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