218 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    218 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book is about unequal development and labour in Brazil, with particular reference to the economic and social development of the Northeast region, which has suffered persistent disadvantage. It combines a historical approach, which shows how economic, social and political institutions have been restructured over time, with an analysis of changes in the pattern of production, employment, unemployment and inequality up to the present day. It draws on detailed case studies to examine the connections between local and national production systems and critical labour market outcomes such as informality in employment, precarious work and disparities between genders, races and regions. The case of the Brazilian Northeast illustrates processes, relationships and policy debates that are important not only in Brazil but also elsewhere. The book will be of interest to teachers, researchers and students in economics, sociology, labour and development; public officials and policy-makers; the international development community; and the general public interested in Latin American affairs. They will find in the book an original and systematic analysis of the factors underlying unequal development and how they respond to different policy regimes and suggestions about the issues that need to be addressed in the future.

    List of map and graphs

    List of tables



    Chapter 1. A focus on the Northeast

    1. The regional question in Brazil
    2. Theoretical reference points
    3. Methodological approach
    4. The organization of the book


    Chapter 2. The historical trajectory

    1. Introduction
    2. From Sudene to the "fiscal war"
    3. The period of neodevelopmentalist policies
    4. Regional implications of Brazil’s economic and social setbacks, 2015-2019
    5. Concluding remarks


    Chapter 3. The labour regime

    1. Introduction
    2. The regulation of the labour market: The State and the trade unions
    3. Labour status
    4. Inequality
    5. Gender and race/colour
    6. Change and crisis in the labour market
    7. Conclusion : The overall picture

    Annex to chapter 3. An extended breakdown of labour status


    Chapter 4. Diversity in production systems and labour relations

    1. Introduction
    2. The sugarcane agroindustry in the Northeast
    3. The irrigated fruit growing pole of Petrolina and Juazeiro
    4. Mining non-metallic minerals in the Seridó Paraibano
    5. The garment pole of the Agreste region of Pernambuco
    6. Footwear production in Campina Grande, Paraíba
    7. Shipbuilding in Suape Industrial Port Complex
    8. The construction sector in Brazil and the Northeast
    9. Information technology workers in Pernambuco
    10. Call centres in Paraíba
    11. Uber drivers in Rio Grande do Norte
    12. The Automotive Pole of Goiana, Pernambuco
    13. A synthetic view of the Northeast production system
    14. Consequences for the labour regime


    Chapter 5. Towards a more equal development

    1. Development and crises
    2. The roots of unequal development
    3. Issues and scenarios




    Gerry Rodgers has a DPhil in Economic Development from the University of Sussex (1972) and an MA (Cantab) in Economics and Mathematics. He worked at the International Labour Organization in a variety of research and management positions, including Director of the International Institute for Labour Studies. He has mainly worked on poverty, inequality and employment, especially in India and in Latin America, and has published widely on these issues. Presently he is a collaborator of the Laboratory for Studies and Research on Labour and Public Policy at the Federal University of Paraíba in João Pessoa, and is also Visiting Professor at the Institute for Human Development, New Delhi.

    Roberto Véras de Oliveira has a doctorate in Sociology from the University of São Paulo (2002) and undertook post-doctoral work during 2015–2016 at the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (Los Angeles). He is presently Full Professor at the Federal University of Paraíba, João Pessoa. His research is concerned with the Sociology of Labour, Political Sociology and Economic Sociology. He is a Scholar of the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development and a member of its Social Sciences Advisory Committee, and a member of the Coordinating Group of the Network for Studies and Interdisciplinary Monitoring of the Labour Reform.

    Janine Rodgers has a Degree in Economics from Paris (1966), an MA in Development Economics from the University of Sussex (1969) and a Certificate in Political Science from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva (1982). She worked for the International Labour Organization on labour market inequalities, on gender issues and on crises. She has been Deputy Executive Secretary of the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI). She is currently a collaborator of the Laboratory for Studies and Research on Labour and Public Policy at the Federal University of Paraíba, João Pessoa, and a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Human Development, New Delhi.

    This book is the result of a long-term and thorough collaborative research project that
    needs to be praised. [...] I would recommend the reading of this book as a priority for all social scientists
    interested by the economic, social, and political situation of Brazil and its Northeast region
    but also, more widely, to all those working on development policies, regional inequality
    issues and the determinant role of labour market and employment conditions to reduce

    Jean-Luc Maurer, Honorary Professor in Development Studies, The Graduate Institute of International and
    Development Studies, Geneva

    This fine book provides an assessment and analysis of the pattern of unequal development in Brazil, with specific reference to Brazil’s Northeast region, which has historically been significantly less developed and poorer than other regions. It is a fascinating, rich and insightful account of both the historical processes that contributed to the “persistent disadvantage” of this region compared with other parts of Brazil, as well as a careful and penetrating analysis of recent policies that either reduced this disadvantage (during the 2003–14 period) or once again led to increasing inequalities (in the period after 2016, in particular). Clearly, therefore, this book will be essential reading for anyone concerned with Brazil’s economic development and the living conditions of its people, especially in the Northeast. In fact, the book is much more than that and deserves an even wider audience, providing an object lesson in how to study inequality, both horizontal and vertical. The thoughtful political economy approach and the recognition of the intermingling of different forces are both admirable.

    Jayati GhoshProfessor of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA