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Abstract

Do policies made during authoritarian periods still matter after democratization? This paper attempts to investigate how might the differences in economic and labor policies during authoritarian periods contribute to the differing labor conditions in democratized countries. Based on the comparative country case study and the statistics of labor disputes, the paper examines the relationship between the neoliberal economic policies adopted during the authoritarian rules and the level of labor disputes after democratization. Specifically, we argue that some core policies of the neoliberal reforms, such as the mass privatization of state-owned enterprises, significantly reshuffled the labor force employed in the original enterprises, driving up unemployment and underemployment in the short-term and disrupting the ranks of organized labor. And in combination of labor policies that prohibited the right to collective action, neoliberal policies adopted during the authoritarian periods would greatly undermine the forces of organized labor, contributing to fewer industrial disputes after democratization.

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