Jennifer Kampe Humanities and Social Science
The Effects of Labor Market Deregulation on Human Capital: Evidence from Costa Rica
While economic consensus defined Development in terms of output growth, the Costa Rican state pursued human development both as an end in itself and as a means of achieving economic growth. Previous investments in human capital under a protective labor regime have ensured todays Costa Rican employers a stable, high-skilled work force. Yet in the context of mounting pressure to create a flexible labor market, the Costa Rican labor force risks losing the protections which are in fact the source of its competitiveness. Using national census data, interviews with union officials, and sector reports for high and low skill export manufacturing I will empirically and qualitatively explicate changes in human capital accumulation over the period 1995-2007. My purpose in conducting this study then, is to clarify the role of labor market regulation in determining human capital and to assess the case for a more protective labor regime in Costa Rica.