Class Structure, Structural Heterogeneity and Living Conditions in Latin America
Latin American labor markets have been historically characterized as structurally heterogeneous, and precarization processes have added to diversity in labor relations. In this context: 1) To what extent the conventional CASMIN class scheme is able to capture the specificity of labor relations and conditions in Latin America? 2) Which modifications are necessary in order to adapt this scheme to Latin American labor relations? 3) What is the landscape of national class structures that emerges after these modifications? 4) How is this class structure linked to inequality in labor conditions and exposure to precarization?
To advance on these questions we adopt an empirical, structural-based approach. Using national household survey data for a number of Latin American countries, we propose an adaptation of the CASMIN scheme, which differentiates between salaried workers in large and small productive units and sets apart a class of unskilled self-employed workers. Then we contrast class structures among countries and link class membership to labor conditions. Results suggest that class remains an important category, but some adaptations to traditional class schemes are necessary to capture inequalities in job conditions and exposure to precarization.