Now available from the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pitt Latin American Series.

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Workers and Welfare: Comparative Institutional Change in Twentieth-Century Mexico

From the introduction…

…The study of welfare in Mexico provides a good opportunity to deepen our understanding of the politics of welfare throughout Latin America because the Mexican case suggests a number of interesting theoretical puzzles. For instance, why would a country that was predominantly agrarian in the 1940s opt to invest considerable political and economic resources in welfare institutions that benefited a small, but growing, number of primarily urban industrial workers? If the creation and expansion of welfare in Europe is associated with the expansion of worker suffrage and the consolidation of democracy at the turn of the twentieth century, why were welfare institutions created in Mexico during the consolidation of authoritarianism? And, if organized labor was co-opted and so weak during the height of Mexican authoritarianism in the 1950s through the 1970s, why did this period see the greatest expansion of welfare coverage and benefits? Finally, if the regime that dominated Mexican politics for most of the twentieth century had so completely established control of organized labor, why was the regime unable to impose all the pension and health insurance reforms it favored during the 1990s?

This book argues that the answers to these questions can be found in the relationship between organized labor and the state and in the processes of institutional change. The explanation presented in these pages is not one that stresses Mexican exceptionalism, though Mexican history does reveal certain particularities. Because the explanation is theoretically grounded in the literature on welfare and institutional change, it emphasizes the theoretical affinities between the Mexican experience and those in other countries that have faced the incorporation of an organized working class into national politics…

Book Chapters

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Class coalitions, institutions, and welfare regimes

Chapter 3: The early struggle for welfare (1910-1940s)

Chapter 4: Labor demands and the expansion of welfare (1950s-1970s)

Chapter 5: Globalization, democratization and the conflict over welfare reform (1980s-1990s)

Chapter 6: Mexico in Historical Perspective

Chapter 7: Democratization and the conflict over retrenchment (2000-2007)

Chapter 8: The shift toward targeting and a residual welfare regime (1988-2007)

Chapter 9: Mexico in comparative perspective