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Have Workers in Latin America Gained from Liberalization and Regional Integration?

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This article examines what has occurred in Latin America's labor markets as a result of the twin processes of economic liberalization and regional integration. The author argues that the two are closely related, because they both tend to reduce the scope of national policy making. The article begins with a review of labor market conditions in Latin America. Neoliberal ideology predicts that labor market "flexibility" should increase employment, general deregulation should foster growth, and faster growth should lead to higher wages. Weeks' analysis reveals that to the contrary of neoliberal predictions, the results of neoliberal reforms for labor over the last twenty years have been extremely mixed. He also finds that the integration schemes in the Americas, inspired by neoliberal ideology, have a strong bias against organized labor and favor capital.

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Development Policy and Research, SOAS, University of London, London, WC1H 0XG, United Kingdom.


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