6th Regulating for Decent Work Conference, 8-10 July 2019

Track IV. Building and renewing institutions: A social contract for the 21st century

Globalisation, transformations in the world of work, emerging new business models, as well as changes in the organization of work and production have brought in new challenges. The existing labour institutions, which have contributed to promote equity, face challenges as many of the new forms of works are outside the purview of the employment relationship, leading to greater income insecurity and income inequality. At the same time, institutional challenges remain in developing countries where a vast proportion of workers are in the informal economy. There is a need to build and renew institutions, and to explore what would be needed for a social contract for the 21st century. How can these institutions promote sustainable development and a more equitable and just society? Can the concept of economic democracy be helpful in shaping a renewed social contract?

Papers in this track will address a broad set of questions around the building and renewing of institutions through one or more distinct disciplinary perspective(s) (economic, political, sociological, legal, psychological, etc.), and for countries at all levels of development. The track invites papers which seeks to address the following issues in particular:
  • What are the implications of new forms of work for labour regulation? How have institutional innovations enhanced labour protection, both to protect ‘non-standard’ workers and to prevent casualization?
  • How can labour regulation, social dialogue, and social protection better respond to the casualization of work, and help in reducing decent work deficits and preventing in-work poverty? What would be needed to ensure decent work for those who are currently in informal employment, and how can transitions to the formal economy be fostered through an enabling approach?
  • What are the implications of changes in the world of work (both paid and unpaid) for building or renewing social contracts, and how do they manifest themselves in industrialized and developing country contexts? How can institutional frameworks better respond to the challenges around care and unpaid work, including for working carers?
  • What policies are necessary to foster more equitable societies, with more stable and fairer markets and a fairer distribution of resources? How can institutional frameworks be improved to address poverty and inequality, including through strengthening minimum wage mechanisms? What are the implications for economic, social and fiscal policies?
  • How can institutional frameworks be rendered more inclusive, overcoming various forms of discrimination and social exclusion? How can those who are unprotected by conventional legal frameworks be better protected? How can a social contract become more inclusive?
  • What is necessary to strengthen workers’ voice and participation at the enterprise, sectoral, national and global level? How can social dialogue adapt to the new trends? What new or alternative forms of organization and representation are emerging, including among workers in the informal economy and in non-standard forms of employment, and what implications do they have for the functioning of social dialogue institutions?
  • Which policy and institutional innovations have had a positive impact in adapting social protection systems to the transformations in the world of work, and addressing poverty and inequality? How can the equitable and sustainable financing of social protection and other inequality-reducing policies be ensured? How can social cohesion and collective interests be strengthened in the face of pressures to individualize risks?
Track coordinators: Christina Behrendt, Jiyeun Chang, Simel Esim, Kroum Markov, Deirdre McCann, Kea Tijdens, Lisa Tortell