Aiding Labor: Foreign Aid and the Promotion of Labor Rights in LDCs

Reed Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Recent research examines the influence of trade and capital liberalization on states' and private corporations' respect for labor rights in developing countries. This literature, however, generally overlooks the potential role of development aid on these rights. Herein I argue that official development assistance-specifically aid to civil society programs and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)-helps improve core labor standards. Such aid promotes labor rights through strengthening labor organizations, related civil society groups, and NGOs and improving their capacity to mobilize and bargain with the state and capital. Development aid likewise indirectly promotes respect for labor rights through a diffusion process from donor states with superior labor rights standards to recipients. I test hypotheses drawn from the arguments via quantitative analysis, employing new data on labor rights practices as well as disaggregated foreign aid data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-204
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Human Rights
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


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