IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Labor-Management Relations in Autocratic Regimes


  • Cooke, Fang Lee
  • Wood, Geoffrey


This chapter examines contemporary labor-management relations in autocratic regimes, drawing on two sets of countries, namely transitional peripheral economies in Central Asia (Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan) and hierarchical market economies in Latin America (Colombia and Honduras), for analysis. We discuss the political economy, work, and labor relations of these countries, highlighting the role of the state, business, and international non-government organizations. We also take into account the impact of large-scale (often in millions) migration of workers both internally within the country and cross-border. It is important to note that, just as there are different types of democratic systems, there are also different types of autocratic regimes with distinct political, economic, and social policy orientations, and this directly impacts the nature of labor relations. Under Latin American right-wing authoritarianism, a primary focus is on supporting a relatively small property-owning elite, and any countervailing worker power is seen as a direct attack on the latter. Even if workers have employment rights under the law, this zero-sum game view frequently results in extra-legal attacks on worker activists and their representatives, making union organization an extremely dangerous business. In contrast, the Central Asian autocracies, business elites are tied up within extended clan networks. Especially within Uzbekistan, a much closer emphasis has been placed on the provision of a critical mass of jobs as a means of buying political stability. Unions have been afforded a place in the system both for historical reasons and as proof of an ability to create a critical mass of decent work; at the same time, there is little room for union autonomy.

Suggested Citation

  • Cooke, Fang Lee & Wood, Geoffrey, 2022. "Labor-Management Relations in Autocratic Regimes," GLO Discussion Paper Series 1014, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:1014

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robertson, Graeme B., 2007. "Strikes and Labor Organization in Hybrid Regimes," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 101(4), pages 781-798, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Vladimir A. Kozlov & Dina Y. Balalaeva, 2015. "Institutional Deficit and Health Outcomes in Post-Communist States," HSE Working papers WP BRP 25/PS/2015, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    2. Paustyan, Ekaterina, 2021. "Politically motivated intergovernmental transfers in Russia: The case of the 2018 FIFA World Cup," BOFIT Discussion Papers 2/2021, Bank of Finland Institute for Emerging Economies (BOFIT).
    3. Paustyan, Ekaterina, 2021. "Politically motivated intergovernmental transfers in Russia : The case of the 2018 FIFA World Cup," BOFIT Discussion Papers 2/2021, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
    4. Duvanova, Dinissa & Nikolsko-Rzhevskyy, Alex & Zadorozhna, Olha, 2023. "Can Black Tulips stop Russia again?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 1274-1288.
    5. Lessing, Benjamin & Willis, Graham Denyer, 2019. "Legitimacy in Criminal Governance: Managing a Drug Empire from Behind Bars," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 584-606, May.
    6. Huo, Jingjing, 2015. "How Nations Innovate: The Political Economy of Technological Innovation in Affluent Capitalist Economies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198735847, Decembrie.
    7. repec:zbw:bofitp:2021_002 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    autocratic regimes; labor-management relations; Central Asia; Latin America; trade unions; international labor organisations;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E26 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Informal Economy; Underground Economy
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • F66 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Labor
    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:1014. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.