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Accepted Paper:

Unbalanced Governance and Workers' Adverse Incorporation: A Multi-Scalar Analysis of the Ghanaian Construction Sector  
Serena Masino (University of Westminster) Nadia von Jacobi (University of Trento) Mavis Akuffobea (CSIR-Science and Technology Policy Research Institute)

Paper short abstract:

African construction sectors are undergoing rapid internationalisation, while creating large shares of precarious employment. We identify three intersecting and unbalanced processes of labour standards governance that underline such adeverse incorporation outcomes.

Paper long abstract:

While incorporation into Global Production Networks generates opportunities for workers, adverse forms of such incorporation take shape at multiple levels of analysis. We investigate the less-studied rapidly globalising Ghanaian construction sector through a multi-scalar framework and mixed methods of analysis, while relying on a primary dataset collected among 30 firms and 305 respondents. A composite yet unbalanced governance landscape emerges, characterised by three intersecting processes that unfold across a multi-scalar architecture to generate and sustain workers' adverse incorporation. Specifically, we describe how labor standards in the Ghanaian construction industry are shaped by the way global commercial drivers combine, on the one hand, with the absence of regulatory pressures on the part of international and non-firm non-governmental actors and, on the other, with the variegated embeddedness profile of the firms operating in the sector. Through its engagement in the outsourcing of labor control and labor standards governance, the State acts as an inter-scalar mediator which affects how the described processes cascade down to the workplace level. Given the construction sector's increasing relevance in the economic trajectories of Ghana and several other African economies, we argue that these dynamics represent a complex yet under-investigated regulatory challenge as well as a policy-making priority.

Panel P04a
Shifting South: Governance of regional value chains, social standards and Covid-19 I
  Session 1 Monday 28 June, 2021, -