International Labor Organization

2016 (with G. Distelhorst). "Working Conditions ‘In’ and ‘Out’ of Global Supply Chains: A Comparative Empirical Review."  

Executive Summary

Global supply chains are a key feature of contemporary globalization (OECD 2013).  As production in many industries has migrated to the developing world, a charged debate has emerged about the relationship between these global supply chains and labor standards in emerging economies.  On the one hand, advocates of liberalization point to the reallocation of labor towards more productive activities that pay higher wages and facilitate industrial and social upgrading.  On the other, critics highlight how highly competitive markets reward factories that offer the lowest costs, in part through poor terms of employment and lax observance of labor standards.

This review contributes to this policy debate by adopting a comparative empirical perspective to assess working conditions in global supply chains.  Rather than comparing theoretical frameworks for understanding trade and working conditions or examining specific policy proposals, we seek to establish a common empirical starting point for discussions of these theoretical and policy questions. To do so, we review empirical research that compares of working conditions “in” and “out” of global supply chains. Are working conditions in factories that produce for global supply chains better or worse than those that produce for domestic markets?


Ford Foundation Beijing

2011 (with G. Distelhorst).  "China Governance Grantee Online Communication Assessment Project."  

Executive Summary

The Ford Foundation China Initiative for Transparent, Effective, Accountable Government (TEAG) currently sponsors work by organizations with diverse communications goals.  A 2008 survey showed that nearly all grantees use information communication technologies (ICTs) in their daily work, but while technologies were widely deployed, it remained unclear to what extent they helped organizations achieve their communications goals.  Since the publication of this report, internet communication in China has changed with the rapid rise of microblogging (weibo).  As many Ford grantees have felt the need for more systematic work on their use of information and communications technologies, the need for systematically assessing those needs and developing effective approaches for meeting them has become pressing.

This report assesses the digital communications practices of current China grantees and provides training materials and recommendations pertinent to their circumstances in 2011. Specifically, it presents both self-reported and independent evaluations of grantees’ use of ICTs in their Ford-funded project work.  It goes on to use these findings to generate recommendations for both grantees and the Ford TEAG program.  Finally, this report presents some illustrative case studies and training materials to assist grantees in more effective use of ICTs to achieve their project and institutional goals.