Economic pressures led Latin American governments to restructure their economic and social policies in the 1980s and 1990s. They also threatened to transform labor laws. Scholarship on labor law change focused on this reform period, tracking where change occurred and trying to explain labor law outcomes. Yet researchers found that labor law proved remarkably resistant to large-scale change. And despite similar pressures for “flexibilization,” convergence of labor law regimes across the region did not occur.

Matthew Carnes's book is the latest addition to this scholarship. His research aims to fill several gaps. First, he argues that by focusing on the reform period of the 1980s and 1990s, previous studies were unable to account for the stable evolution of labor codes since their inception. Carnes studies the origins and evolution of labor codes from the end of the nineteenth century through the twentieth...

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