Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel: The Administration of Labour Policies and Programs: Global Perspectives
(Public and Non-Profit Management and Finance)

Thursday, November 12, 2015: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Pearson II (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Christopher King, University of Texas, Austin
Panel Chairs:  Randall Eberts, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research
Discussants:  Randall Eberts, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and William Spriggs, Howard University

Changes in the Administration of U.S. Workforce and Labor Regulation Programs
Christopher King, University of Texas, Austin and Carolyn Heinrich, Vanderbilt University

Over the past few decades, labor markets have undergone dramatic shifts and labor policies have become hot-button issues, even as the tools and technologies for governing and administrating them have evolved and new research questions have begun to emerge. This panel features three papers examining different aspects of labor administration. The first paper examines the profound impact that widespread adoption of the Internet and other digital means has had on how labour administration and inspection bodies manage and deliver their services, as well as their impacts on policy making, particularly with regard to the increased availability and accessibility of data, not only for policy makers, but also the general public itself. To confirm the optimistic proclamations of the e-government literature concerning the impact of ICT on the efficiency and effectiveness of government processes, the ILO launched a world-wide survey in early 2015, mapping the experiences of Member States regarding the introduction of ICT in labour administration, with a special focus on compliance with labour laws in both developed and developing countries. This survey advances the understanding of the benefits that ICT offers in terms of transparency and accountability, the collection and analysis of data for policy making and evaluation, the speed of delivery of labour-related services and the quality of management through the automated reporting of results against predetermined objectives. The survey results also highlight the challenges faced by labour administration during the introduction of new technologies, especially within developing, but also developed countries, and help to define better approaches of technical cooperation in this field. The second paper examines the administration of U.S. workforce development and labor (wage and hour) regulation programs since the late 1990s, which spans three different presidential administrations and encompasses major legislative reforms. As part of a larger multi-country study sponsored by the ILO, the authors document some of the more important changes — including shifts in administrative approaches, the introduction of new performance measurement and management mechanisms, and increased use of technology — and associated results over time and discuss their implications for policy. National systems of labour administration are of fundamental importance to the functioning of labour markets and employment relations systems. Scholars of public administration, employment relations and social policy have provided numerous insights into the development of labour policies, the provision of employment services and the capacity of the state to ensure that employment rights are enforced. However, the comparative analysis of national labour administration systems is underdeveloped. The recent interest in 'varieties of capitalism' has produced suggestive insights into how a research agenda might be developed, but to date national labour administration systems have not been subject to rigorous comparative analysis. The third paper sets out research questions to orientate the comparative study of national labour administration systems and suggests ways in which they might be addressed. The paper draws on national studies of labour administration in a variety of developed and developing economies, which have been conducted as part of a major research initiative undertaken by the ILO.