Conclusion: Markets, Strategies, and Institutions in Comparative Perspective
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[Excerpt If this had been another collection of country case studies, it would now be possible to map out the similarities and differences across the cases covered, possibly in a figure describing various IR-related issues by country. However, since this is a collection of different kinds of analyses with a variety of different focuses, the job of concluding this volume is not so simple. Nevertheless, in the very variety offered by the chapters in this volume, several themes emerge, most of which are at least implicitly, if not explicitly, clarified in the five substantive chapters. The chapters point up the need to analyze industrial relations developments in the context of a changing global economy—especially the context of the broader "competitiveness" pressures and debates that have taken center stage on national political and economic agendas. They illustrate the simultaneous pressures for decentralization and a realignment of the division of labor between central and local decision making and activities. They draw our attention to the continuing importance of existing institutions in shaping industrial relations outcomes and the increasingly important role also of actor strategies in shaping outcomes and influencing how institutions are used. Finally, the chapters underline the importance of including labor as a major negotiating partner if the benefits of economic growth and competitiveness are to be widely diffused across different socioeconomic groups and strata, as well as the continuing viability of a model of industrial competitiveness that excludes collective labor influence, whose benefits accrue to isolated segments of society and economy—not just in the developing world but in advanced industrial countries as well.
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industrial relations; comparative political economics; globalization; labor movement; competition
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