Fall 2008

Kirsten Sehnbruch
Latin America’s Development and Labor Markets

Maquiladora III (photo by Andy Wallis)

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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.



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