Job Market Paper

Does the Left Breed Economic Informality? Party Strategies and Selective Enforcement in Brazil

Given their links to organized labor and reliance on working-class voters, leftist governments are expected to increase the number of people protected by job security rules. But do they? The long period of rule by left-leaning governments in Latin America since the early 2000s offers opportunities to test this supposition. As part of a broader project, I explore whether the left in power at the local level in Brazil uses its influence over labor inspectors to crack down on enterprises that employ non-contract, informal-sector workers. With a close-election regression-discontinuity design, I show that mayors from the Workers' Party (PT), far from encouraging a shift from unprotected (informal) to protected (formal) jobs, in fact increase the size of the informal sector. The PT's labor-market policies reflect its need to build a broad lower-class electoral coalition, one that includes both informal and formal-sector workers, whose preferences are in some ways at odds. My analysis reveals that the PT pursues a strategy of keeping barriers-to-entry to the formal sector, slowing down labor enforcement within small firms, and at the same time improving working conditions for informal-sector workers by incorporating them into worker-run informal sector enterprises

This paper contains parts of my book manuscript, The Left's Dilemma: Party Strategies and Informal Labor in Developing Economies. A summary of the book is available here.

Peer-Reviewed and Revise & Resubmit Articles

Sharing the Costs: Party Brands and Incumbency Spillovers in Brazil. Revise and Resubmit at The Journal of Politcs [abstract]

Do the Wealthy Oppose Redistribution? Public Price Shocks and Redistributive Preferences in Buenos Aires (with L. Schiumerini and S. Stokes). Forthcoming at the British Journal of Political Science [replication files]

Argentine Presidentialism: From Crisis to Recomposition of Presidential Power, 2003–2007 (“El Presidencialismo Argentino: de la Crisis a la Recomposicion Actual, 2003–2007”), with N. Cherny and M. Novaro, in America Latina Hoy, 54, April 2010

Working Papers

Electoral Accountability with Myopic Voters: Evidence from Fatal Workplace Accidents [abstract]

Distributive Politics in Three-Level Systems: Evidence from a Large Land-Titling Program [abstract]

Work in Progress

Paying Not to Vote: Pocketbook Considerations and the Shape of the Electorate (with G. Julcarimna and G. Tuñón)

Perceptions of Land Inequality and the Demand for Redistribution. Experimental Evidence from Rural Colombia (A. Montoya and V. Paniagua)

Other Publications

"Yes, U.S. election integrity could be improved. Here’s why the Pence commission probably won’t do it," Monkey Cage Blog, Washington Post, September 18th, 2017

"The U.S. could be free of gerrymandering. Here's how other countries do redistricting," Monkey Cage Blog, Washington Post, August 7th, 2017

From the Hegemonic to the Scrambled Stalemate, CLACS Working Paper, Brown University, May 2014

Gathering Beans: The Size of Legislative Coalitions in Argentina (1983-2008) (“Juntando Porotos: El Tamaño de las Coaliciones Legislativas en Argentina”), in A. Mustapic, A. Bonvecchi, and J. Zelaznik (comps.), Los Legisladores en el Congreso Argentino, Instituto Torcuato Di Tella, 2012

Lula and the Partido dos Trabalhadores adaptation process (“Lula y el proceso de adaptacion del PT a la hora de gobernar”) with V. Palermo, in Revista Argentina de Ciencia Politica, 9/10, 2006

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