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Leveling the Playing FieldTransnational Regulatory Integration and Development$
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Laszlo Bruszt and Gerald A. McDermott

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198703143

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198703143.001.0001

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Transnational Integration and Labor Market Regulation in Mexico and Beyond

Transnational Integration and Labor Market Regulation in Mexico and Beyond

(p.80) 4 Transnational Integration and Labor Market Regulation in Mexico and Beyond
Leveling the Playing Field

Michael J. Piore

Andrew M. Schrank

Oxford University Press

This chapter juxtaposes two different accounts of Mexico’s disappointing labor market performance in the NAFTA era. The standard account traces the persistence of inequality and informality to regulations that allegedly impede growth and adjustment, and thus calls for the deregulation of the Mexican labor market. But Mexico’s labor laws have gone all but unenforced in practice, and their reform (or abandonment) is therefore more likely to codify current practice than to animate growth and adjustment. Other Latin American countries have reconciled labor market regulation with productive upgrading, however, and the chapter draws upon their experiences to portray regulatory officials as potential agents of—rather than impediments to—economic development. By using their discretion to simultaneously impede backward business practices and encourage dynamic alternatives, professional labor inspectors can contribute to a brighter future not only in Mexico but throughout Latin America.

Keywords:   Mexico, NAFTA, labor market regulation, labor inspection, free trade, regulation, labor law, industrial upgrading

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