CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Regulators without Borders? Labor Inspectors in Latin America and Beyond

On April of 2015, Andrew Schrank, the Oliver Watson Professor of Sociology and International Studies at Brown University, gave a lecture titled Regulators without Borders: Labor Inspectors in Latin American and Beyond.

The presentation explored the transnational networks that increasingly shape the capacity of the Latin American state. Dr. Schrank’s research builds on the work of Anne Marie Slaughter, whose 2004 book A New World Order identified an important trend within contemporary international relations: the emergence of transnational government networks. She demonstrates how important these networks are for shaping patterns of global governance, from the management of the global economy to combatting international crime and terrorism. Emphasizing the value of this work, Schrank points out that we still don’t know enough about who joins these networks, or who actually participates. Scholars like Jonathan Macey, who think about such networks from a rational choice perspective, argue that most regulatory officials should not want to cooperate across borders because of the reduction in national autonomy that results. The only condition under which Macey expects regulators to join transnational networks is when they are forced to, or when it enables them to pressure their domestic arenas for additional resources. Why do regulators go abroad? Do they join because they are already strong, or do they go abroad because they are weak? Are they motivated by the public interest, or by rational self-interest?

To answer these questions, Schrank examines the domain of labor regulation, a “least-likely” case of transnational cooperation. He focuses on Latin America, where countries share a similar model for inspection. His empirical work draws from interviews and data collection in the Dominican Republic, as well as an analysis of Latin American state membership in three transnational networks: the International Association of Labor Inspection, the Inter-American Network of Labor Administrators, and the Ibero-American Network of Labor Inspection. Using membership patterns in these three networks to test hypotheses regarding the behavior of state regulators, Schrank finds that labor inspectors who are independent civil service professionals are more likely to go abroad than labor inspectors who are political appointees. Those that do participate in transnational networks evidence greater levels of enforcement and compliance with international standards. His results have consequences for our theories regarding the origins of state development and capacity building, as well as our understanding of the costs of patronage and nepotism within the Latin American civil services.

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Stone Center for Latin American Studies to host 11th annual Workshop on Field Research Methods

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Join us at the Stone Center for Latin American Studies for the 11th Annual Weekend Workshop on Field Research Methods on Saturday, January 26, 2019. The deadline to apply for the workshop is January 15, 2019.

How will you get the data you need for your thesis or dissertation? Do you envision immersing yourself for months in the local culture, or tromping the hills and farms seeking respondents? Sorting through dusty archives? Observing musicians at work in the plaza? Downloading and crunching numbers on a computer? For any of these approaches: How might you get there, from here?

This workshop aims to help you approach your data collection and analysis for your thesis or dissertation topic, and to adapt and refine your topic to be more feasible. You will take your research project ideas to the next stop—whatever that may be, include raising travel grants. Learn to:

  • Plan more efficiently, feasible, and rewarding fieldwork
  • Prepare more compelling and persuasive grant proposals
  • Navigate choices of research methods and course offerings on campus
  • Become a better research and fieldwork team-member

Format
This is an engaged, hands-on, informal workshop. Everyone shares ideas and participates. We will explore and compare research approaches, share experiences and brainstorm alternatives. You will be encouraged to think differently about your topic, questions, and study sites as well as language preparation, budgets, and logistics. The participatory format is intended to spark constructive new thinking, strategies, and student networks to continue learning about (and conducting) field research.

Who is leading this?
Laura Murphy, PhD, faculty in Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, and affiliate faculty to the Stone Center for Latin American Studies.

Who is this for?
This workshop is targeted to Stone Center graduate students as well as graduate students from other programs (GOHB, CCC, humanities, sciences, and others) if space is available. The workshop will be particularly helpful for those who envision research with human subjects.

Sign up
Sign up as soon as you can! Apply by January 15, 2019, at the latest to confirm your stop. Send an email with the following details:

  • Your name
  • Department and Degree program
  • Year at Tulane
  • Prior experience in research, especially field research
  • Academic training in research design and methods
  • Include a 1-paragraphy statement of your current research interests and immediate plans/needs (i.e. organize summer field research)

Light breakfast and lunch will be provided. Not for credit.

For more information and/or to apply: Contact Laura Murphy or Jimmy Huck.