The Third Function of Labour Law: Distributing Labour Market Opportunities among Workers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In addition to the conventional emphasis on labour law's function in distributing power between labour and capital, labour law is argued to influence the distribution of rents, power, rights, resources and economic risks between workers as well. Recognizing that labour law has multiple distributive implications downgrades the centrality of the labour-capital cleavage in accounting for the social and economic organization of society and in intra-firm interactions. It throws light on another dimension that can explain preferences and norms and be used to draw attention to possible normative tradeoffs. This observation resonates with a critical analysis of labour law's outcomes, but does not merit criticism of labour market institutions and regulatory intervention, as the distributive implications are innate to the functioning of the labour market. The chapter demonstrates the intra-labour distributive implications in collective bargaining, employment discrimination, and regulatory interventions in the labour market.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Idea of Labour Law
EditorsGuy Davidov, Brian Langille
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages315 - 328
ISBN (Electronic)9780191729744
ISBN (Print)9780199693610
StatePublished - 22 Sep 2011


  • Collective bargaining
  • Distributive impact
  • Employment discrimination
  • Functional analysis
  • Insiders-outsiders
  • Labour law
  • Labour market regulation


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