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Empowering Labor uses a comparative study of Chile, Portugal, and Uruguay to analyze the underlying political dynamics that shape the use of wage policy as a pre-distributive instrument of leftist parties in power in unequal democracies. The book theorizes that the unity of the Left and labor's political legitimacy are two main drivers for relating on wage policy as a pre-distributive instrument for promoting inclusion. These factors are shaped by elite long-term strategies towards labor. Such strategies, when dominant for long-enough periods, create path dependency, shaping differential opportunities for further options down the road. The book integrates large-scale historical processes with frequently analyzed short-term and agency-based factors to elucidate variation in the crafting of wage policies and reshapes the debate on the politics of pre-distribution in unequal democracies by situating the cases in a longer historical arc.
This article explores the relationship among trade liberalization, deindustrialization, and income inequality in the more industrially advanced Latin American countries. It argues that, among the most important liberal reforms implemented during the 1980s and 1990s, trade reform was especially detrimental to equality because it accelerated deindustrialization. The analysis provides evidence to support this mechanism. Therefore, as the liberalization of trade increased, the deindustrialization process produced an increase in inequality. In short, evidence shows how the process of economic integration to the global market, as it took place, produced an increase in inequality through the destruction of formal employment.
Research on the politics of skills formation in Latin America is severely underdeveloped. This article offers a novel characterisation of the supply of skills in the region or ‘skills supply profiles’, taking inspiration from the comparative capitalisms literature. We identify four configurations of skills supply profiles – universalising, dual academic-oriented, dual VET-oriented and exclusionary – and analyse their historical dynamics. By doing this, we challenge general assessments of Latin America's skills formation systems as pertaining to one overarching type. This sets the stage for a deeper understanding of the politics of skills in the region and their connection with different development alternatives.