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Copenhagen Consensus Center

Copenhagen Consensus Latin America: Employment/Social Security

Assessment Paper

By Alejandra Cox Edwards

The working paper used by the Expert Panel is available for download here, the finalized paper has been published in the Latin American Development Priorities: Cost and Benefits book by Cambridge University Press. 

Short Summary

During the last few years Latin America has reluctantly begun a process of markets integration into the global economy. This process is likely to deepen in years to come, and workers in the region must have access to the opportunities that this global market place offers.  While it is certainly a fact that global labor markets threaten individuals with the possibility of being replaced by other, perhaps cheaper or more productive workers in other countries, the same phenomenon brings about the opportunity to obtain a better job in a broader set of labor market offers. Globalization can potentially benefit all workers by changing the division of labor across countries.  

Yet, this new division of labor requires a fair degree of adaptability. The challenge is to seize the benefits from globalization, cognizant of the difficulties imposed by the need to adjust.  To this end, policies should seek to improve the functional role of the labor market, encourage an effective response of the education and training markets, and ensure that minimum wage policies (geared towards improving the conditions of the working poor) do not discourage employment creation.