Is Job Security an Insider Privilege? The public opinion on labor law in Latin American.

Sarah Berens (University of Cologne) & Achim Kemmerling (Central European University)

(under review)

Recently presented at APSA 2016 in Philadelphia, USA, and LASA 2017 in Lima, Peru.

Abstract: While scholarship on the politics of labor market divides and labor law in Latin America has increased considerably in recent years, this literature rarely looks at the role of public opinion. Using data on public attitudes towards labor law from the Latinobarometer for 18 Latin American countries we start filling this gap. We follow insights from the literature on labor market divides and insidership to see how far those at the margins of the formal labor market differ in their opinions from the employed. We find that collective labor laws seems to benefit large segments of the people in their own eyes, but that there are also important divides: While formal sector workers indeed assess the protection by current labor law positively, informal sector workers feel left behind. Moreover, we find feedback effects of labor law on these differences in opinions. We conclude with a discussion how these divides in attitudes also have political effects, especially in terms of voting patterns and turnout.