Inequality: An Industrial Relations Perspective

Friday, 3 July 2015: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
TW2.2.04 (Tower Two)
Isabel da Costa, CNRS-IDHES, ENS de Cachan, Cachan, France
My paper will seek to explore what industrial relations perspectives can bring to our understanding of inequality.

I will start with an analysis of the work of Sidney and Beatrice Webb, who helped found LSE and also contributed to the field of industrial relations (which was not a discipline then) concepts such as “collective bargaining” (as opposed to “individual” bargaining), as well as “living wages”.

I will continue by analyzing the links between industrial relations and welfare also in the work of John Commons, whose contribution to the New Deal thinking remains yet to be explored and better known.

I will finally address the way industrial relations specialists have dealt with the issue in the post WWII period both in terms of the perspectives of pluralists and political economists.

My conclusion will outline the role of the industrial relations actors at the national and international levels in dealing with inequality through transnational bargaining and international solidarity.


2008 : Elodie Bethoux, Isabel da Costa, Claude Didry, Marie Meixner, et Arnaud Mias, “Syndicalisme et démocratie” (traduction du chapitre « Trade Unionism and Democracy » du livre Industrial Democracy de S. et B. Webb). In Terrains et Travaux, n°14, ENS de Cachan, pp.9-47.

2010 : Isabel da Costa, « L’institutionnalisme de John Commons et les origines de l’État providence aux États-Unis », in Revue Interventions économiques, n°42, 17p.

2012 : Isabel da Costa, « Dunlop, La place du courant des relations professionnelles dans la GRH », in José Allouche et al. (coord.),  Encyclopédie des Ressources Humaines, Editions Vuibert, 3ème édition, p.1792-1797.

2012 : Isabel da Costa, Valeria Pulignano, Udo Rehfeldt and Volker Telljohann, “Transnational Negotiations and the Europeanization of Industrial Relations: Potentials and Obstacles” in : European Journal of Industrial Relations, June 2012 vol. 18 no. 2, p.123-137.