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Organized Labor Strikes and Social Spending in Latin America: The Synchronizing Effect of Mass Protest

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 March 2020

Dongkyu Kim*
Affiliation:
Dongkyu Kim is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Mi-son Kim*
Affiliation:
Mi-son Kim is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Cesar Villegas*
Affiliation:
Cesar Villegas is a graduate student in political science at the University of Rio Grande Valley.

Abstract

The theories and evidence about relationships between democracy and social spending in Latin America are highly contested. A recent study shows that collective protest by organized labor effectively increases social security and welfare spending, whereas mass protest does not have comparable effects on human capital spending in Latin American democracies. This article reexamines the analysis and demonstrates that organized labor alone cannot sway democratic governments. Labor strikes require the synchronizing effect of mass protest to obtain government concessions. Only through concurrent episodes of mass protest can organized labor overcome the numerical disadvantage of pressing democratic government for social welfare spending. In understanding the relationship between labor protests and social welfare spending through the lens of insider-outsider dichotomy, it is critical to consider the synchronizing effect of mass protests. The findings remain robust with alternative measures of democracy and various model specifications.

Type
Research Notes
Copyright
© University of Miami 2020

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Footnotes

Conflict of interest: Dongkyu Kim, Mi-son Kim, and Cesar Villegas declare none.

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