Volume 44, Number 173,
April-June 2013
Towards a New Development Model?
From a Regulatory Perspective. Argentina 2003-2010
Ignacio de Angelis, Mariana Calvento and Mariano Roark
Institutional Forms: Salary Relations

The study of this institutional form proposes an analysis of the impact of economic development on the overall social framework, based on salary relations and factors that determine direct and indirect salaries.

Starting in 2003, a new era in Argentina began, marking a fresh configuration of forces in the capital-labor relationship. First, there was a quantitative restructuring based on the transformation of the accumulation process, which evolved from a financial growth model, inherited from neoliberalism, to a productive configuration manifest in the generation and recovery of jobs as the core policy to improve living conditions (Araya and Colombo, 2009: 154-155).

The restart of production created new jobs in all sectors, mainly in services, commerce and industry, especially in construction, followed by manufacturing. As can be seen in Figure 4, between 2002 and 2010, 4.3 million jobs were created, reducing the unemployment rate to 7.8%, and recovering to levels from prior to the start of the 1990s.

Figure 4. Transformations to the Employment Structure, 2003 and 2010
Source: Center for Argentinean Employees – The Training and Research Center of the Republic of Argentina (cifra cta, 2011)

Based on this evidence, it can be concluded that remuneration received by employees is a fundamental determinant of this institutional form, mainly based on its evolution in real terms and its share of the functional income distribution. From a business perspective, the salary represents a cost determined by the evolution of salaries and labor productivity. Starting in 2002, Argentina saw a sustained increase in productivity, resulting in a cumulative increase in productivity per employee of 24.8% (Arceo and González, 2011). Although there were progressive improvements to real salaries, by 2010, they had only reached levels slightly higher than during convertibility. This shows that the increase in productivity was mainly absorbed by capital, transferring the benefits of labor to capital and ensuring high profit rates (Basualdo, 2008: 9).

Analyzing the functional income distribution reveals that in 2003 levels of the participation of salaried workers in the total income of the economy began to recover. In this way, coming off of historically low values following the 2001 crisis,10 a slightly favorable evolution began, mainly in response to the increase in labor positions, and later increasing salaries. However, by 2007, the distribution was still unequal and gdp grew faster than the salary mass. From that point forward, though, there was undeniable recovery and the participation of salaried employees grew proportionally faster than the gdp.

The true transformative nature of this institutional form arises from its qualitative features – relative to the legal and institutional circumstances – driven by the new government starting in 2003 with the goal of reorganizing the social structure in crisis, by containing social movements and incorporating the set of unemployed and non-registered workers into the process of growth and development.

10 Although official estimates (2002: 34.6%; 2007: 42.9%; 2009: 44%) vary from the data estimated by the cta (2002: 31.4%; 2007: 39.1%; 2009: 41.1%), both sources show favorable evolution with similar magnitudes starting in 2003.

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PROBLEMAS DEL DESARROLLO. REVISTA LATINOAMERICANA DE ECONOMÍA, Volume 49, Number 195 October-December 2018 is a quarterly publication by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México, D.F. by Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Circuito Mario de la Cueva, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán,
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