Nations and Occupations: Remapping the Macro Political Economy of Work

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Nations and Occupations: Remapping the Macro Political Economy of Work

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Title: Nations and Occupations: Remapping the Macro Political Economy of Work
Author: Pinto, Sanjay Joseph
Citation: Pinto, Sanjay Joseph. 2012. Nations and Occupations: Remapping the Macro Political Economy of Work. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: Cross-national comparative approaches have yielded a rich set of insights about the diversity of national forms of contemporary capitalism, including the ways in which the organization of work and employment differs across countries. At the same time, the cross-national framework has also functioned in certain respects as a conceptual straitjacket, preventing us from recognizing alternative structuring principles in the macro context, and the existence of patterns that cut across national boundaries. The five papers that comprise this dissertation together seek to advance a dual agenda for advancing the macro-comparative study of work and employment, one that recognizes both the strengths and limitations of the cross-national framework. Looking at different sets of high- and middle-income countries, the papers use various statistical methods (including OLS and cross-classified multilevel regression models) to consider outcomes ranging from union organization to unemployment to non-standard working arrangements. On the one hand, this project offers new insights into the cross-national diversity of systems of work and employment. For example, one paper adds to our understanding of why rates of temporary employment vary so widely across national varieties of capitalism, and the reasons why increases in temporary employment have been so high in Continental European countries. On the other hand, the project also shows that certain features of work organization are structured more by occupational as opposed national distinctions, with particular occupational patterns extending across countries. Indeed, one paper demonstrates that patterns of "voluntary" as well as "involuntary" part-time employment vary much more along occupational as opposed to national lines, and that rates of part-time employment are not just high but remarkably uniform across countries for certain kinds of service workers. These and other findings from this dissertation add to our understanding of how national boundaries structure the landscape of work and employment, while also being cross-cut in important ways by other types of organizing logics. More broadly, they contribute to the development of a productive middle ground between perspectives that emphasize the persistence of cross-national differences in the organization of contemporary capitalism, and those stress similarities and shared trends.
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