Stay up to date on the latest research papers

Stay up to date on the latest research papers
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ILO Research Paper series

ILO Research Papers promote evidence-based analysis of policies that help improve employment and social outcomes. Submissions, of 8,000 to 10,000 words, should be sent to the editorial board for internal and external peer review.


  1. Research Brief

    Protecting the life and health of workers during the COVID 19 pandemic: Overview of national legislative and policy responses

    The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the cardinal importance of protecting health and safety in the workplace. ILO Member States are responding, through legislative and policy measures in the world of work, to the occupational health and safety issues raised by this extraordinary situation. This Brief provides examples of laws and policies from 35 countries and territories that are relevant to understanding how workers’ safety and health have been upheld during the crisis.


  1. ILO Research paper No. 21

    The International Labour Organization and Globalization: Fundamental Rights, Decent Work and Social Justice

    Emmanuel Reynaud

    This paper discusses how the ILO reacted to the challenges to its raison d’être posed by the end of the Cold War and the new globalization era. It shows that its continued relevance was attained in three main stages: the adoption of the 1998 Declaration, the development of the “decent work” concept and the adoption of the 2008 Declaration. The paper examines the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, its adoption, its logic, achievements and limitations. It then discusses the definition and the promotion of the “decent work” concept, and its inclusion in the UN system and the international arena. Thereafter, it covers the 2008 Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization, the intricate process towards its adoption, its objectives, principles and potential. Finally, the paper shows how the ILO has reinforced the notion of “social justice” as a central aim of national and international policies.


  1. ILO Research paper No. 20

    The impact of minimum wage increases on the South African economy in the Global Policy Model

    Ilan Strauss, Gilad Isaacs, Jeronim Capaldo

    This paper uses the United Nations Global Policy Model (GPM) to assess the impact of increases in minimum wages on the South African economy. The results indicate that higher (relative) real wage growth rebalances national income, and the labour share increases since relative wages rise and employment is roughly maintained.

  2. ILO Research paper No. 19

    Foreign trade barriers and jobs in global supply chains

    Stefan Kühn & Christian Viegelahn

    This paper aims to contribute to a better understanding of how trade and trade policies shape job creation and destruction across countries in the context of a globally fragmented production, by considering manufacturing and services jobs separately. The analysis takes into account not only tariff and non-tariff barriers to goods trade, but also barriers to services trade.


  1. ILO Research paper No. 18

    The future of work: The meaning and value of work in Europe

    Dominique Méda

    This paper looks at the notion of work historically and how new meanings have enriched this notion over centuries. It then analyses the importance Europeans give to the concept of work, and examines the future of work in the coming decades in the light of three broad scenarios, which are competing to present a mid-term view of the future of work.

  2. ILO Research paper No. 17

    Digitalization and structural labour market problems: The case of Germany

    Ulrich Walwei

    This paper looks at one of the main drivers of technological change, digitalization and how it will impact jobs. Taking the case of Germany the paper argues that smart automation might not lead to overall job losses but considerable shifts in the structure of employment with regard to industries, occupations, skills and tasks.

  3. ILO Research paper No. 16

    Linking jobs in global supply chains to demand

    Takaaki Kizu, Stefan Kühn, Christian Viegelahn

    This paper presents evidence on the number of jobs in global supply chains for 40 countries, and explores in detail whose demand these jobs depend on in terms of countries and sectors. The paper documents the rapidly increasing number of jobs supported by production linkages between emerging economies, and provides evidence on the so-called servicification of manufacturing. Wage shares drop when a sector increases its participation in global supply chains as a supplier.

  4. ILO Research paper No. 15

    Decomposing income inequality into factor income components: Evidence from selected G20 countries

    Uma Rani and Marianne Furrer

    This paper examines the factors that have contributed to the level of inequality and its changes over time in 13 selected G20 countries in order to address this at the policy level. The results show that labour income is the most powerful factor contributing to inequality in all countries under analysis. Transfers and benefits are most important factors contributing to reducing inequality.

  5. ILO Research paper No. 14

    Global Supply Chain Dynamics and Labour Governance: Implications for Social Upgrading

    Joonkoo Lee

    This paper examines how the emergence and change of the fragmented cross-national production system affects social upgrading in developing countries, focusing on the impact of private governance on labour conditions and workers’ rights. It also discusses the role of private voluntary standards in governing labour relations in GSCs, and their limitations and tensions with buyers’ purchasing practices.

  6. ILO Research paper No. 13

    Corporate Social Responsibility in International Trade and Investment Agreements: Implications for States, Business and Workers

    Rafael Peels, Elizabeth Echeverria M., Jonas Aissi, Anselm Schneider

    This paper assesses the reference to CSR commitments in trade and investment agreements and finds that CSR language is relatively weak in terms of obligation, precision and delegation. Emphasising the potential to use the mechanisms that are provided in these agreements to activate and follow-up CSR commitments, it looks at what the implications could be for states, business and workers, and the potential ILO involvement.