Spring 2007

Latin America’s Development and Labor Markets

Dr Kirsten Sehnbruch
Fall 2007

Latin American Studies 150 P002
CCN: 49130
Monday and Wednesday, 4:00 - 5:30 pm
56 Barrows

Download the Course Description and Syllabus

Course readings

Course Description:

In 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.

This 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 interventionism.

Course 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 mid-term essay.

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.

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