The Expanding Universe of Bilateral Labor Agreements
In the seventy-five years since the end of World War II, pairs of countries have entered into over a thousand bilateral labor agreements (BLAs) to regulate the cross-border flow of workers. These agreements have received little public or academic attention. This is likely, in part, because there is limited data or easily available information on BLAs. This Article hopes to change that by introducing three new resources: (1) a dataset documenting the formation of over 1,200 BLAs; (2) a corpus including the texts of over 800 BLAs; and (3) a dataset coding whether over 500 BLAs mention twenty topics that the ILO has identified as best practices for these agreements. Using this data, we show that, unlike some other forms of bilateral agreements, the rate of BLAs being signed has remained relatively high during the first two decades of the twenty-first century. Additionally, we also show evidence that, although many BLAs were formed during this period, relatively few agreements include various worker protections advocated for by activists, scholars, and NGOs.