Toward managed flexibility: The revival of labour inspection in the Latin world
Michael J. PIORE and Andrew SCHRANK
Examining the role of labour inspection in the context of the revival of labour market
regulation, the authors distinguish between the Latin model, where inspectors
have authority to tailor enforcement to firms’ exigencies, and the less flexible United
States approach. The Latin model can reconcile regulation with economic flexibility
and transform inspectors into the shock troops of a campaign for decent work. But
its vulnerability to arbitrary behaviour on their part needs to be addressed through:
management of organizational cultures; exposure and systematization of the tacit
knowledge underpinning inspectors’ judgements; and research into the relationship
between labour standards and business practices.
KEYWORDS: LABOUR INSPECTION, LABOUR LAW, FRANCE, LATIN AMERICA, USA.
Fixing minimum wage levels in developing countries:
Common failures and remedies
Some developing countries have set their minimum wages too high or too low to constitute
a meaningful constraint on employers. The article compares minimum wages
worldwide, proposes several ways of measuring them in developing countries and discusses
whether they are effective thresholds in those countries. The second part of the
article considers the institutional factors leading countries to set minimum wages at
extreme levels. The author concludes that the minimum wage is used as a policy instrument
to several ends – wage negotiation, deflation and social dialogue – which results
in the absence of a wage floor, weak collective bargaining, or non-compliance.
KEYWORDS: MINIMUM WAGE, WAGE DETERMINATION, DEVELOPING COUNTRIES.
Continuity and change in the southern European social model
Over the past 20 years or so, the southern European model has undergone substantial
change in every way. The changes in industrial relations, wage-setting and
employment protection legislation have tended to increase wage and labour flexibility
and restrict labour market segmentation. Changes within the welfare state have
sought to improve labour force skills, fill gaps in social protection, reduce inequalities
in social security and contain social expenditure growth. Yet institutional change
has not eliminated the main features of this model: pronounced labour market segmentation
and familialism; however, extremely low fertility rates are indicative of
the limits of familialism in the near future.
KEYWORDS: WELFARE STATE, LABOUR MARKET SEGMENTATION, EMPLOYMENT, GREECE, ITALY, PORTUGAL, SPAIN.
Do worker absences affect productivity? The case of teachers
Raegen T. MILLER, Richard J. MURNANE and John B. WILLETT
This article studies the impact of teacher absences on education. Using data spanning
three academic years about 285 teachers and 8,631 predominantly economically disadvantaged
students from a United States urban school district, it tests assumptions
that a substantial portion of teachers’ absences is discretionary and that these absences
reduce productivity – students’ mathematics scores. Since absent teachers are
typically replaced by less qualified substitutes, instructional intensity and consistency
may decline: ten days of teacher absence reduce students’ achievement score by about
3.3 per cent of a standard deviation – enough to lower some students’ designation in
the state proficiency system and, thus, their motivation to succeed.
KEYWORDS: ABSENTEEISM, TEACHER, PRODUCTIVITY, EDUCATION, SCHOOL, USA.
Notes, debates and communications
The status of self-employed workers in Spain, by Jaime CABEZA PEREIRO.
Research on transnational social dialogue and International Framework Agreements (IFAs), by Konstantinos PAPADAKIS.
Globalisation and labour rights: The conflict between core labour rights
and international economic law. Reviewed by Hedva SARFATI
The politics of labour reform in Latin America: Between flexibility
and rights. Reviewed by Graciela BENSUSÁN.