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Research

The Global Labor Institute aims to diagnose critical problems in the private and public regulation approaches regarding labor standards through cutting edge research leading to evidence-based conversations and decisions amongst fragmented constituencies—unions, brands, suppliers, civil society, and governments to improve outcomes for workers in in the supply chain. In so doing, the project will inform efforts for enlightened public regulation as well as more effective methods for collective bargaining in today’s global economy.

The research network is led by by Sarosh Kuruvilla, Professor of Industrial Relations and Asian Studies in Cornell’s ILR School, and includes a network of accomplished project of accomplished researchers including Matthew Amengual of Oxford University, Greg Distelhorst of MIT and the University of Toronto, Jennifer Bair of the University of Virginia, Sarah Ashwin and Chunyun Li from the London School of Economics, and Raymond Robertson from Texas A&M University. The Project’s methodology involves extensive field research, the analysis of data from global companies, multi-stakeholder institutions, and other actors in the burgeoning eco-system of private and public regulation.

In the two years since its founding, GLI has made significant findings highlighting a number of different problems with private and public regulation, but also pointing to pathways for improvement. These findings challenge core assumptions of private and public regulation efforts and several of the early papers are available to read on this website.

Research Outputs

Corporate Codes of Conduct and Labour Turnover in Global Apparel Supply Chains

Research on private regulation of labour issues in global supply chains has focused extensively on whether supplier factories comply with the codes of conduct of global companies. Less is known about how such compliance relates to the preferences and behaviours of workers at export factories.
Colored Bolts of Fabric
Corporate Codes of Conduct and Labour Turnover in Global Apparel Supply Chains

Book "Private Regulation and Labor Standards in Global Supply Chains" Published

NCP Executive Director Sarosh Kuruvilla's book examines the practice of private regulation in respect of labor standards in global supply chains.
Sarosh Kuruvilla Book Cover
Book "Private Regulation and Labor Standards in Global Supply Chains" Published

New Conversations Project Partners with ILO on Grant

Improving working conditions in the dangerous and largely unregulated commercial fishing industry is the focus of the project.
An industrial fishing boat
New Conversations Project Partners with ILO on Grant

Private Regulation of Labor Standards in Global Supply Chains

This paper, published as a chapter in the International Labor Organization's 2021 volume: Decent Work in a Globalized Economy, shares Professor Sarosh Kuruvilla and the New Conversations Project's new research on the limited progress of private regulation over a decade in multiple countries
Garment workers in an Indonesian factory
Private Regulation of Labor Standards in Global Supply Chains

GLI Sourcing Journal Series

The New Conversations Project is publishing a limited series in the Sourcing Journal on latest research findings related to private regulation. These pieces are designed to de-code important new academic research for actors in the global supply chain.
Sourcing Journal Logo
GLI Sourcing Journal Series

Social Dialogue in the 21st Century Project Reports

The Social Dialogue in the 21st Century Project published ten country reports - plus the NCP Synthesis Report - on obstacles to social dialogue in the global garment supply chain.
World map with Mexico, Honduras, Bulgaria, Ethiopia, India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia highlighted in red.
Social Dialogue in the 21st Century Project Reports

Research on “Better Work” Cambodia

The Better Work program offers an innovative alternative to improving working conditions in developing country apparel factories
Missing alt
Research on “Better Work” Cambodia

Draft Working Paper (ILO/GLI) "Beneath the surface: Review of literature and initiatives for identification of forced labour in fishing" (2020)

This Working Paper drafted with support from ILO Fundamentals identifies and brings together what is already known about obstacles to identifying fishers in forced labour and key knowledge gaps in this regard.
Philippine fisherman surrounded by buoys
Draft Working Paper (ILO/GLI) "Beneath the surface: Review of literature and initiatives for identification of forced labour in fishing" (2020)

Social Sustainability in Global Supply Chains: An Empirical Investigation of Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining

In this article, we seek empirical answers to two research questions: a) What are the typical violations of FOA and CB rights in global supply chains that must be corrected for workers to exercise their voice?
Dignity factory workers producing shirts for overseas clients, in Accra, Ghana
Social Sustainability in Global Supply Chains: An Empirical Investigation of Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining

What Makes a Decent Factory?

Until recently, there has been a lack of data that allowed researchers to distinguish between highly compliant factories and non-compliant ones.
factory workers
What Makes a Decent Factory?

COVID-19 and the Garment Industry Brief

The New Conversations Project has published a new research brief with the ILO assessing the impact of COVID-19 on the apparel industry in Asia and the Pacific.
Female garment workers wearing masks.
COVID-19 and the Garment Industry Brief

Published Papers on Labor Practices in Global Supply Chains

ILR Review published special issue devoted to research findings on sustainable labor practices in global supply chains.
ILR Review cover
Published Papers on Labor Practices in Global Supply Chains