Interdisciplinary Working Group on Governing Work in the Global Economy


For two years, The Rutgers Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs supports the work of an Interdisciplinary Working Group on Governing Work in the Global Economy. Organized around a core group of faculty from the School of Management and Labor Relations, the Department of Political Science and Rutgers Business School, the group seeks to bring together faculty and graduate students from across Rutgers University to explore the influence of global economic dynamics on labor market regulation and working conditions around the world.

Even a cursory reading of the newspaper quickly reveals that the governing principles of capitalism and democracy seem increasingly at odds in the contemporary global economy. Competitive pressures appear to be driving down labor standards, with working populations enjoying ever less power to shape the conditions under which they sustain their livelihoods. However, popular desires for social protections remain as strong as ever. The working group seeks to probe the dynamics behind these rising tensions and study attempts to halt or reverse the looming transformation.

In cooperation with the Rutgers Center for European Studies, the working group will initially focus its attention on recent challenges to the relatively egalitarian forms of capitalism in Western Europe. The effects of international competition, the crisis of the EURO and austerity initiatives have left strong marks on the governance of work in the wealthy democracies across the Atlantic. During a second phase of its activities, the working group plans to widen the scope of inquiry and contrast European and American approaches to improving working conditions in global value chains.

To sign up for announcements about the working group’s activities, please click here. Core faculty members of the group include Tobias Schulze-Cleven (P.I.), Rebecca Givan and Mingwei Liu (all from SMLR’s Labor Studies and Employment Relations Department); R. Daniel Kelemen (Department of Political Science); and Kevin Kolben (Rutgers Business School).