Development and Labor Markets
American Studies 150 P002
Monday and Wednesday,
4:00 - 5:30 pm
the Course Description and Syllabus
every country’s development process, macroeconomic
growth is filtered down to individuals mainly by means of their
employment. Latin America ’s development experience over
the last decade is now acknowledged to have been disappointing
if we consider the poor performance of labour markets and the
persistently high poverty rates, especially given the hopes that
compliance with the reform policies of the Washington Consensus
had generated. This course will explore the reasons for this
poor performance from the perspective of employment policy and
its links to issues of poverty and income distribution.
course will begin by providing an overview of Latin America ’s
economic development process. It will show how particular institutional
structures and labour market legislation were formed that led
to specific development outcomes (including their effects on
human development in the region). It will discuss basic labour
market measurements (e.g. unemployment and participation rates),
definitions of poverty and measures of income distribution before
looking at how these different measures relate to each other.
It will go on to discuss the political debates and discussions
that surround employment policy and labour reform, including
the opposing theoretical perspectives of neo-liberalism and state
Requirements and Format:
This course is designed for advanced undergraduates and graduates.
No prerequisite courses have been set for this course. Knowledge
of Spanish and or Portuguese would be useful, but is not a requirement.
The course will be organised in two weekly classes. A specific
topic will be set for each class or week for which particular
readings will be assigned. Small written assignments will be
set throughout the course to develop the understanding of topics
discussed. For some topics, students will be required to prepare
mini presentations on the subject or lead a discussion.
There will be a mid-term essay for which several questions
will be set from which one must be chosen. Students are also
advised to use the mid-term break to begin research on the final
papers they wish to write.
Students will be required to produce a final paper on a topic
of their choice, which will constitute 65% of the final grade.
They will be expected to present the topic of their final paper
to other course participants during the final two classes of
this course. The remaining 35% of the final grade will be based
on a combination of course participation, assignments and the
A bibliography, reader and a list of electronic resources will
be available for the course, which will contain basic introductory
texts on the subject matter as well as more specialised articles,
data and research. Students will be expected to criticise the
reading materials and argue with the authors. For the final paper
they will be expected to find at least some references of their
own to complement the assigned course readings.
Finally, please note that the content, structure and schedule
of this course will be relatively flexible to accommodate the
particular interests of individual students and the levels of
experience and knowledge that they bring to the class.
courses at CLAS Fall 2007: