CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Regulators without Borders? Labor Inspectors in Latin America and Beyond

On April of 2015, Andrew Schrank, the Oliver Watson Professor of Sociology and International Studies at Brown University, gave a lecture titled Regulators without Borders: Labor Inspectors in Latin American and Beyond.

The presentation explored the transnational networks that increasingly shape the capacity of the Latin American state. Dr. Schrank’s research builds on the work of Anne Marie Slaughter, whose 2004 book A New World Order identified an important trend within contemporary international relations: the emergence of transnational government networks. She demonstrates how important these networks are for shaping patterns of global governance, from the management of the global economy to combatting international crime and terrorism. Emphasizing the value of this work, Schrank points out that we still don’t know enough about who joins these networks, or who actually participates. Scholars like Jonathan Macey, who think about such networks from a rational choice perspective, argue that most regulatory officials should not want to cooperate across borders because of the reduction in national autonomy that results. The only condition under which Macey expects regulators to join transnational networks is when they are forced to, or when it enables them to pressure their domestic arenas for additional resources. Why do regulators go abroad? Do they join because they are already strong, or do they go abroad because they are weak? Are they motivated by the public interest, or by rational self-interest?

To answer these questions, Schrank examines the domain of labor regulation, a “least-likely” case of transnational cooperation. He focuses on Latin America, where countries share a similar model for inspection. His empirical work draws from interviews and data collection in the Dominican Republic, as well as an analysis of Latin American state membership in three transnational networks: the International Association of Labor Inspection, the Inter-American Network of Labor Administrators, and the Ibero-American Network of Labor Inspection. Using membership patterns in these three networks to test hypotheses regarding the behavior of state regulators, Schrank finds that labor inspectors who are independent civil service professionals are more likely to go abroad than labor inspectors who are political appointees. Those that do participate in transnational networks evidence greater levels of enforcement and compliance with international standards. His results have consequences for our theories regarding the origins of state development and capacity building, as well as our understanding of the costs of patronage and nepotism within the Latin American civil services.

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The Latin American Library's Annual Open House

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The Latin American Library will be hosting its annual open house event on Friday, September 21. This annual event will welcome back faculty, students, staff, and friends from the New Orleans community. The event will include a talk by Colombian visual artist Erika Diettes, an exhibit of recent acquisitions, a book sale, and as always much more!

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information contact Madeline White via email (mwhite7@tulane.edu) or by phone at (504) 865-5681.

Equity speaker series to host panel on navigating immigrant relations in the current political climate

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The Center for Academic Equity at Tulane University is proud to present Border Li(n)es: Excluding, Extracting, and Expelling Immigrants in the Southern U.S. on September 25, 2018 at 7:00 PM as part of the Equity Speaker Series.

Following a summer of turbulent immigration relations in the United States, the Fall 2018 Equity Speaker Panel will focus on immigration on our Southern border and will feature specialists whose experiences vary from grassroots to professorial work. Panelists will include Josiah Heyman, Director of the Center for Inter-American and Border Studies, Ronald Martinez, New Orleans immigrant activist and spokesperson for the Congress of Day Laborers, Hiroko Kusuda, Clinical Professor and Director of Immigration Law at the Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice at Loyola, and Laila Hlass, Clinical Professor of Law at Tulane Law School and the Stone Center for Latin American Studies.

These four distinguished speakers will share the stage of Freeman Auditorium to discuss the drastic variation in immigrant relations across the national, regional, and local spaces and ways that members of American society may become engaged in or change the now toxic and polarized political climate. This inaugural discussion will be followed by a question and answer session.

See also Tulane New Wave for more information and a description of the event.




Cover photo from CNN story What the US-Mexico border looks like before Trump’s wall.