The Influence of Labor Politics
This chapter examines the impact of labor politics on the trajectories of economic reform. The influence of labor politics and class conflict on state policy and trajectories of social change might be expected to be most salient in the realm of labor relations and social policy. If the play of interests and power among elites and elite factions plays the dominant role in many other policy domains, elite conflict is less salient in matters relating to labor market policy, labor relations, and worker training that tend more often to unite employers and governments in their collective, oppositional dealings with labor. This chapter considers how, and to what extent, workers have influenced trajectories of social regulatory reform. It begins by distinguishing between two types of “labor” influence on social reform policy: political and functional-institutional. It then discusses the political role of labor in pushing for labor-centric social policies relating especially to social protections and the labor process. It also explores how the various modalities of labor politics have shaped social policy.
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