Channels of Influence: The EU and Delta Convergence of Core Labour Standards in the Eastern Neighbourhood

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This article analyses the influence of the EU's actions on labour standards in the Eastern neighbourhood. It conceptualizes the EU's actions as potential delta convergence mechanisms and models these mechanisms through a spatial econometric approach, using spatial lags. It then analyses the impact of these mechanisms on target countries' rate of alignment with the International Labour Organization's standards using spatial two-stage least squares regression analysis. The results indicate that the EU influences labour standards in the observed countries through a combination of coercion and example-setting, but more so through the former than through the latter. The study finds that participation in the European Neighbourhood Policy does not influence countries' labour standards, nor does being a Generalized System of Preferences beneficiary. The article concludes that the EU influences labour standards through the manipulation of target countries' cost-benefit calculations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-143
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Development Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Competition Emulation of the EU Emulation of non-EU countries Coercion Communication Democracy-conditioned emulation Trade-conditioned emulation EU financial assistance Volume of trade with the EU ENP participant GSP recipient EU PTA Democracy Civil society ILO treaty ratification Trade FDI GDP


  • coercion
  • convergence
  • diffusion
  • emulation
  • labour rights
  • trade-norm linkage


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