The regulation of irregular work in Japan : from collusion to conflict
Author(s)Cisneros, Nathan (Nathan Burley)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Political Science.
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Japan's labor markets are clearly segmented between regular and irregular workers. Regular workers enjoy employment stability, good wages and promotion, and access to good pensions and health plans. Irregular workers-contract, dispatch and part time workers-can be fired easily, are paid less, and don't have access to fringe benefits. In Japan irregular work contracts have been progressively liberalized since the 1980s, and the share of irregular employment over the same time period has more than doubled to over one third of all workers. However, there are important cases of re-regulation. How can we account for Japan's specific policy path in regard to irregular work contracts? A good explanation ought to shed light on the politics of similar labor market phenomena across the affluent democracies. In this project I argue the policy process by which labor policies are decided substantially impacts whether or not irregular work contracts are liberalized or re-regulated. When labor unions and employer associations bargain over policy in consensus-based deliberative councils housed in the labor ministry the resultant policies are very unlikely to be favorable to irregular workers, though they are likely to be favorable to regular workers. This is the way most policies were decided until the 1990s. In contrast, when labor policies are processed through parliamentary politics the content of policy is shaped by electoral competition between the parties of the right and left. Irregular work contracts receive favorable policies only when there is an electorally credible party of the left. When there is not a credible leftist party both regular and irregular work contracts are liberalized. Political competition rather than formal inclusion of labor representatives most often results in favorable policies for irregular workers.
Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Political Science, February 2014.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Political Science.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Political Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology