The poor cousin of global economic governance? The ILO facing the crises of 1929 and 2008

The ILO and the production of a social and economic body of knowledge
By Marieke Louis

Does the International Labour Office (ILO) carry weight in creating global economic policy? Since it was founded, the ILO has aimed to be a leading player in economic and social debate by participating in major international economic conferences. However, does this participation lead to greater influence for the ILO? As it is about to celebrate its centenary, is the ILO forced to remain the ‘poor cousin’ of global economic governance? This paper endeavours to answer these questions by comparing the ILO’s reactions to two major economic crises of the 20th and 21st centuries: 1929 and 2008. These crises gave the ILO an opportunity to highlight economic policy proposals, related to public works in the Interwar period and to the Global Jobs Pact during the 2008 crisis.

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