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The legislated model of labor relations in Brazil

Asserting that the term "corporatist" is poorly suited and not very useful in describing the Brazilian case, the author employs an institutional approach to propose a typology that is polarized between legislated and contractualist models of labor relations. The argument is that the Brazilian model is characteristically "legislated" and grounded on the analysis of what is called the "three normative spaces of labor relations", that is, the law, collective contracts, and company norms defined unilaterally by the employer. Based on the "division of labor" of these normative spaces, the article shows (a) how the legislated model has reproduced itself and ratified the subordination of social legislation to labor law and (b) how labor laws subordinate and inspire collective contracts (and even informal labor contracts) while also limiting and informing managers’ imaginations in the creation of labor norms defined unilaterally by companies.

labor relations; labor institutions; labor laws


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