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Latin American Comparative History of Occupational Structure (LACHOS)

Latin American Comparative History of Occupational Structure (LACHOS)

The Latin American Comparative History of Occupational Structure (LACHOS) is an international project which aims to create consistently coded and harmonised datasets on historical occupational structure for as many countries as possible in Latin America and engaging in systematic comparative analysis, both within the region and in dialogue with the results produced by the INCHOS and AFCHOS projects for Eurasia, North America and Sub-Saharan Africa. LACHOS was launched in the 6th Latin American Economic History Congress (Santiago de Chile, July 2019) by Marc Badia-Miró (Universitat de Barcelona), Leigh Shaw-Taylor and Emiliano Travieso (both University of Cambridge).

Over the last two decades scholars have significantly improved the coverage and accuracy of historical national accounts for Latin American economies, giving new quantitative basis to the interpretation of their economic past and allowing for long-term comparisons with other regions. However, compared to the data available on output and trade, our knowledge of the historical occupations of Latin American workers remains very limited. Reconstructing national occupational structures, particularly over the long twentieth century (c. 1870-2000), will shed new light on the dynamics and limits of economic development in the region, especially during periods of structural change such as the export-led growth of the First Globalisation (1870-1913), the growth of manufacturing under the period of state-led import-substitution industrialization (c. 1930-1980), the debt crisis and the 'lost decade' of the 1980s and the subsequent era of 'Structural Adjustment'. Occupational structures can also provide a new perspective from which to discuss the traditional typologies of Latin American economies, as well as new evidence to assess the large (and changing) inequalities within and between countries in the region.

LACHOS will use the PSTI system for classifying occupations, however, consistent with the approach taken in the AFCHOS project, mining and extraction will first be considered as a separate category, along with primary production, manufacturing and services, before the data is presented in summary form using the PSTI categories.

In the present initial phase of the project the following country chapters are in preparation:

  • Argentina: Florencia Araoz, Esteban Nicolini and Mauricio Talassino (all Universidad del Norte Santo Tomás de Aquino, Argentina)
  • Bolivia: José Peres Cajías (Universitat de Barcelona, Spain)
  • Brazil: Cecilia Lara (Universidad de la República, Uruguay)
  • Chile: Monsterrat Pacull and Marc Badia-Miró (both Universitat de Barcelona, Spain)
  • Costa Rica: Andrea Montero Mora and Ronny Viales Hurtado (both Universidad de Costa Rica)
  • Peru: Bruno Seminario (Universidad del Pacífico, Peru) and María Alejandra Zegarra (Brown University, USA)
  • Uruguay: Emiliano Travieso (University of Cambridge), Sabrina Siniscalchi and Henry Willebald (both Universidad de la República, Uruguay)

Photo credits: Workers embarking livestock at the port of Montevideo, 1900, John Fitz-Patrick Archive, Photograph 252, ANI-SODRE, Uruguay; Textile workers at COLTEJER, Medellín, Colombia, c. 1920, unknown author; Miners in San Cristóbal, Bolivia, 1930, unknown author.