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OAFP 5085 - Globalization and International Labor Standards

Type d'enseignement : Elective

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

The course is designed to provide students with an understanding of international labor standards, especially those known as core labor standards – child and forced labor, discrimination and unionization -- and their role in international trade and development. With increased international economic interdependence over the past half century, conditions in the workplace and treatment of workers have become a more global concern. Globalization has become more contentious, and raised a number of economic issues to the forefront for policymakers to consider. For example, expanded open trade has increased the size of the world economic pie; however, how this pie is being sliced up remains an issue. We will examine the role of the labor standards in this controversy


BEDNARZIK, Robert (Enseignant chercheur)

Pedagogical format

Each class will typically consist of some combination of my lectures (or guest speaker) using PowerPoint, student presentations, and discussion around relevant questions.

Course validation

Grades will be based primarily of four writing assignments (two individually and two as a member of a small team) and their presentation in class. Each paper gets progressively longer. Assignment one is a short Issue Paper on a topical labor issue. The class will choose three of these issues for more in-depth analysis for assignment two as a member of a team. For assignment three, teams will be formed to develop a response to a problem related to trade and international labor standards. A fictitious country has an opportunity to expand their international trading by signing a free trade agreement. However, not everybody in the country feels that is necessarily a good idea. There will be winners and losers. International labor standards play a role. Output is a 10 slide (maximum) PowerPoint presentation. The final assignment is a student's own paper on a particular international labor standard,, duscussing its background, enforcement and role in sustaining economic development. The labor standards analyzed are my choice but the country examined is the student's choice


A rewarding and meaningful academic experience requires an intellectually stimulating environment where all members of the community adhere to the highest standards of conduct with regard to their academic work. For our purposes, this means adhering to the rules of assignments, ensuring that work that you claim as your own is truly yours (and properly citing the work of others). Students are expected to have read the required readings prior to the class in which they will be discussed. Per the topic under discussion, students are expected to offer opinions to questions raised by me or other students. Required readings are kept to a minimum

Required reading

  • ILO (2014), RULES OF THE GAME: A brief introduction to International Labour Standards, pp. 8-40
  • Horn, Henrik, Lisa Roman, Judith Shapiro and Kaushik Basu (2003) International labour standards: history, theories and policy options, Oxford Blackwell Publishers, chapter 1 (pp. 9-59) and Chapter 2 (pp. 116-135 and 156-166
  • Zhiqi Chen and Afshan Dar-Brodeur* (2014) Trade and Labour Standards: Will There Be a Race to the Bottom?
  • .ILO (2017) Sustainable Supply Chains and Decent Work: Opportunities and Challenges for G20 Members
  • ILO International Programme of the Elimination of Child Labour (2012) Tackling Child Labour: From commitment to Action, Executive Summary and pp. 1-20.