Intermediaries in the Creation of a Market Order in Cross-Border Labour Exchanges

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Karen SHIRE, University Duisburg-Essen, Germany
The paper attempts to theorize cross-border labour markets from an economic sociological perspective. Cross-border labour markets are seen as facing the same sets of coordination problems as do nationally bounded markets in creating a market order. Yet crossing borders generates unique sets of uncertainties specific to labour markets, which I argue, in many cases are addressed by delegating employment responsibilities to private intermediaries. Thus, private intermediaries take on many of the employment risks specifically posed by cross-border labour. These include risks posed by the irregularity of labour mobility and/or employment contracts, uncertainties surrounding skill matches across nationally bounded educational and training contexts, and uncertainties concerning the cultural integration and work commitment of foreign labour. Drawing on two sets of empirical research, the first about cross-border temporary staffing and the second about illegal labour exchanges in the form of human trafficking, the analysis focusses on the practices of market actors in addressing the uncertainties common to market exchanges in general, and those specific to contemporary cross-border labour markets.