Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Debate about labour regulation is not new. What is new is the urgency with which labour law reform is promoted as an important fix to economic woes. In recent years, calls for reform resound in poor and rich countries alike. The economic crisis in the United States and in Europe has intensified these debates, making labour regulation a prime target for reform. In several US states public sector unions have been under attack, depicted as a privileged class that drains public funds with high wages, cosy benefits, and retirement privileges that no other workers enjoy. Several European countries have introduced austerity measures that target labour regulation and other foundations of the welfare state as sources of economic waste that they can no longer afford. Moreover, it is argued that “rigid” labour regulation hampers job creation, which can be strengthened through a program of labour flexibilisation.

Publication Citation

Alvaro Santos, The Trouble with Identity and Progressive Origins in Defending Labour Law, in Critical Legal Perspectives on Global Governance: Liber Amicorum David M. Trubek 207-246 (Gráinne de Búrca, Claire Kilpatrick & Joanne Scott eds., Oxford: Hart Publishing 2014)