In the present monograph Peter Gregory has attempted to analyze the industrial wages in Chile during the 1960-1963 period and by using some benchmark data has extended his study back to 1957 and 1959. The study is based on two sources of data. The first is the manufacturing census of 1957 and the wage surveys since 1960 published by the Dirección de Estadística y Censos. The second source is the excellent series of the Braden Company Surveys. The study deals exclusively with manufacturing with no reference to the artisan component of the industrial sector.
In Chile the distinction between blue-collar (obreros) and white-collar (empleados) workers has an unusual and well-known socioeconomic significance. Gregory’s book takes this distinction into due account, devoting three chapters (III-V) to the wage system for manual workers in manufacturing and one chapter (VI) to the discussion of white-collar salaries. The three major aspects of the wage and salary system discussed are the components of the compensation package, the general wage and salary level and recent changes therein. Chapters III-VI provide the core of the monograph in terms of substance and also account for eighty percent of the book’s 110 pages.
Major features of the Chilean wage system are a volatility of interindustry wage relationships, an apparent lack of association between wages and the functional role they are expected to fulfill, and payment of substantial economic rents to workers in some firms. Although the period covered by Gregory is too short to permit generalization, his study makes definite contributions in some areas (e.g., on the size of interindustry wage differentials), while in some other areas it corroborates the findings of Tom Davis, this reviewer, and others.
There is little that can be criticized in the present monograph. The institutional framework of the labor market in manufacturing is carefully described, while the analysis is as thorough as the data permit. The reader may wish that Gregory had extended his analysis to more recent years and made more comparisons with other sectors. Even so, however, this book makes a clear if modest contribution about an important segment of the Chilean economy. It is the only study available on this topic in English.