Salo Vinocur Coslovsky

Salo Vinocur Coslovsky
Assistant Professor of International Development

Salo Coslovsky's research spans international development, legal sociology, and organizational behavior, and asks how countries can enforce labor, environmental and food safety regulations even when local businesses remain hard-pressed to compete. In particular, he uses qualitative methods to study how public and private authorities enforce regulations on the ground, under real-life constraints. He conducts most of his research in Brazil, and has studied numerous industries, including the production of pig-iron, sugar and ethanol, brazil-nuts, farmed shrimps, and more. In addition to his academic work, Coslovsky has advised Brazilian think-tanks and government agencies, including the Ministry of Environment, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Forest Service on matters of policy design and implementation. 

 

He received an M.A. in Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University; Ph.D. in Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

His personal website can be found at http://salocoslovsky.wordpress.com/  It contains the working paper version of all his papers.

 

 

 

 

Semester Course
Spring 2014 PADM-GP.2201.002 Institutions, Governance, and International Development

This course introduces the theory and practice of institutional reform in developing and transitional countries. It reviews the evolution of international development paradigms, examining how the role, structure, and management of institutions, the public sector, and non-governmental organizations have changed in response to shifting economic and political trends, with a particular emphasis on accountability. The focus is on major institutional and managerial reforms intended to promote good governance as less developed economies liberalize and their societies democratize. Key topics include issues of property rights, knowledge and innovation, learning, the rule of law, decentralization/intergovernmental relations, civil service reforms, anticorruption, citizen engagement, and public-private partnerships. In addition, the roles of international development aid and the external institutions that support institutional and managerial reform in developing and transitional countries are introduced. The course concludes with a synthetic review and a comparative case study exercise.


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Fall 2012 PADM-GP.2201. Institutions, Governance, and International Development

This course introduces the theory and practice of institutional reform in developing and transitional countries. It reviews the evolution of international development paradigms, examining how the role, structure, and management of institutions, the public sector, and non-governmental organizations have changed in response to shifting economic and political trends, with a particular emphasis on accountability. The focus is on major institutional and managerial reforms intended to promote good governance as less developed economies liberalize and their societies democratize. Key topics include issues of property rights, knowledge and innovation, learning, the rule of law, decentralization/intergovernmental relations, civil service reforms, anticorruption, citizen engagement, and public-private partnerships. In addition, the roles of international development aid and the external institutions that support institutional and managerial reform in developing and transitional countries are introduced. The course concludes with a synthetic review and a comparative case study exercise.


Download Syllabus
Spring 2012 PADM-GP.2201. Institutions, Governance, and International Development

This course introduces the theory and practice of institutional reform in developing and transitional countries. It reviews the evolution of international development paradigms, examining how the role, structure, and management of institutions, the public sector, and non-governmental organizations have changed in response to shifting economic and political trends, with a particular emphasis on accountability. The focus is on major institutional and managerial reforms intended to promote good governance as less developed economies liberalize and their societies democratize. Key topics include issues of property rights, knowledge and innovation, learning, the rule of law, decentralization/intergovernmental relations, civil service reforms, anticorruption, citizen engagement, and public-private partnerships. In addition, the roles of international development aid and the external institutions that support institutional and managerial reform in developing and transitional countries are introduced. The course concludes with a synthetic review and a comparative case study exercise.


Download Syllabus
Fall 2011 PADM-GP.2201. Institutions, Governance, and International Development

This course introduces the theory and practice of institutional reform in developing and transitional countries. It reviews the evolution of international development paradigms, examining how the role, structure, and management of institutions, the public sector, and non-governmental organizations have changed in response to shifting economic and political trends, with a particular emphasis on accountability. The focus is on major institutional and managerial reforms intended to promote good governance as less developed economies liberalize and their societies democratize. Key topics include issues of property rights, knowledge and innovation, learning, the rule of law, decentralization/intergovernmental relations, civil service reforms, anticorruption, citizen engagement, and public-private partnerships. In addition, the roles of international development aid and the external institutions that support institutional and managerial reform in developing and transitional countries are introduced. The course concludes with a synthetic review and a comparative case study exercise.


Download Syllabus
Fall 2010 PADM-GP.2201. Institutions, Governance, and International Development

This course introduces the theory and practice of institutional reform in developing and transitional countries. It reviews the evolution of international development paradigms, examining how the role, structure, and management of institutions, the public sector, and non-governmental organizations have changed in response to shifting economic and political trends, with a particular emphasis on accountability. The focus is on major institutional and managerial reforms intended to promote good governance as less developed economies liberalize and their societies democratize. Key topics include issues of property rights, knowledge and innovation, learning, the rule of law, decentralization/intergovernmental relations, civil service reforms, anticorruption, citizen engagement, and public-private partnerships. In addition, the roles of international development aid and the external institutions that support institutional and managerial reform in developing and transitional countries are introduced. The course concludes with a synthetic review and a comparative case study exercise.


Download Syllabus
Spring 2010 PADM-GP.2236.001 Protecting Rights and Promoting Development: Labor and Environmental Standards in the Global Economy

Is there a place for protective regulations in a global market economy? Globalization exerts increasing pressure on producers, and many business managers and investors around the world react by claiming that labor and environmental regulations increase their costs and decrease their ability to compete. Likewise, elected leaders, hard-pressed to prevent these businesses from moving out and eager to bring new ones in, often respond by weakening or eliminating protective regulations altogether.

Meanwhile, the removal of regulatory protections exposes workers, members of underprivileged groups such as children, women, and undocumented immigrants, and all those who live near production sites to a range of negative externalities. Understandably, these individuals and their representatives, including NGOs, unions, community organizations, and some elected leaders, insist that nobody should be forced to live in unhealthy, hazardous, and depleted settings to promote economic development that can be limited in duration and scope. Faced with such a
dilemma, what are policy-makers and public managers to do?

This course examines the challenge of regulating labor and environmental standards in developing countries. It identifies the origins and nature of the problem; the different solutions that have been proposed and implemented; the results that have already been achieved; and some of the challenges that remain ahead.


Download Syllabus
Spring 2010 PADM-GP.2201. Institutions, Governance, and International Development

This course introduces the theory and practice of institutional reform in developing and transitional countries. It reviews the evolution of international development paradigms, examining how the role, structure, and management of institutions, the public sector, and non-governmental organizations have changed in response to shifting economic and political trends, with a particular emphasis on accountability. The focus is on major institutional and managerial reforms intended to promote good governance as less developed economies liberalize and their societies democratize. Key topics include issues of property rights, knowledge and innovation, learning, the rule of law, decentralization/intergovernmental relations, civil service reforms, anticorruption, citizen engagement, and public-private partnerships. In addition, the roles of international development aid and the external institutions that support institutional and managerial reform in developing and transitional countries are introduced. The course concludes with a synthetic review and a comparative case study exercise.


Download Syllabus
Spring 2010 PADM-GP.2201. Institutions, Governance, and International Development

This course introduces the theory and practice of institutional reform in developing and transitional countries. It reviews the evolution of international development paradigms, examining how the role, structure, and management of institutions, the public sector, and non-governmental organizations have changed in response to shifting economic and political trends, with a particular emphasis on accountability. The focus is on major institutional and managerial reforms intended to promote good governance as less developed economies liberalize and their societies democratize. Key topics include issues of property rights, knowledge and innovation, learning, the rule of law, decentralization/intergovernmental relations, civil service reforms, anticorruption, citizen engagement, and public-private partnerships. In addition, the roles of international development aid and the external institutions that support institutional and managerial reform in developing and transitional countries are introduced. The course concludes with a synthetic review and a comparative case study exercise.


Download Syllabus
Spring 2010 PADM-GP.2236.001 Protecting Rights and Promoting Development: Labor and Environmental Standards in the Global Economy

Is there a place for protective regulations in a global market economy? Globalization exerts increasing pressure on producers, and many business managers and investors around the world react by claiming that labor and environmental regulations increase their costs and decrease their ability to compete. Likewise, elected leaders, hard-pressed to prevent these businesses from moving out and eager to bring new ones in, often respond by weakening or eliminating protective regulations altogether.

Meanwhile, the removal of regulatory protections exposes workers, members of underprivileged groups such as children, women, and undocumented immigrants, and all those who live near production sites to a range of negative externalities. Understandably, these individuals and their representatives, including NGOs, unions, community organizations, and some elected leaders, insist that nobody should be forced to live in unhealthy, hazardous, and depleted settings to promote economic development that can be limited in duration and scope. Faced with such a
dilemma, what are policy-makers and public managers to do?

This course examines the challenge of regulating labor and environmental standards in developing countries. It identifies the origins and nature of the problem; the different solutions that have been proposed and implemented; the results that have already been achieved; and some of the challenges that remain ahead.


Download Syllabus
Date Publication/Paper
2013

Coslovsky, Salo and Richard Locke 2013. Parallel paths to enforcement: Private compliance, public regulation, and labor standards in the Brazilian sugar sector Politics & Society
View article
Abstract

In recent years, global corporations and national governments have been enacting a growing number of codes of conduct and public regulations to combat dangerous and degrading work conditions in global supply chains. At the receiving end of this activity, local producers must contend with multiple regulatory regimes, but it is unclear how these regimes interact and what results, if any, they produce. This paper examines this dynamic in the sugar sector in Brazil. It finds that although private and public agents rarely communicate, let alone coordinate with one another they nevertheless reinforce each other’s actions. Public regulators use their legal powers to outlaw extreme forms of outsourcing. Private auditors use the trust they command as company insiders to instigate a process of workplace transformation that facilitates compliance. Together, their parallel actions block the low road and guide targeted firms to a higher road in which improved labor standards are not only possible but even desirable.

Coslovsky, Salo 2013. Enforcing food quality and safety standards in Brazil: The case of COBRACANA The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 2013, 649 (1), pp.122-138
View article
Abstract

Globalization of production has been complemented by increasingly stricter product quality and safety regulations. This trend is particularly acute in the food and beverage sectors, which puts enormous strain on producers from developing nations. This paper examines the trajectory of a cooperative of sugarcane, sugar and ethanol producers from Brazil that, once confronted with this challenge, failed to meet the standards but ultimately came around. It credits the coop’s turnaround to three variables: (a) a new cost accounting methodology that monetized some of the differences in product quality and attenuated tensions among the membership; (b) a low-cost but high-powered system of regulatory incentives that subverted rigid hierarchies and empowered middle-managers vis-à-vis top-executives; and (c) the action of external auditors who acted not as police-officers or consultants, but as conduits who reestablished information flows and helped create a business atmosphere conducive to productive change.

Coslovsky, Salo 2013. Economic development without pre-requisites: How Bolivian firms met food safety standards and dominated the global brazil-nut market World Development
View article
Abstract

Brazilian firms used to dominate the brazil nut (BN) market to such an extent that the product still carries the country’s name. Presently, 77% of all BNs are processed and exported by Bolivia, a country with far fewer resources than its neighbor. This paper analyzes the impact of EU regulations on the global BN market. It finds that Bolivian producers prevailed because they joined forces to revamp their manufacturing practices and meet EU sanitary standards despite continued mutual mistrust. In contrast, Brazilian producers have been unable to work cooperatively and lost access to the European market entirely.

Coslovsky, Salo 2013. Flying under the radar? The state and the enforcement of labor laws in Brazil Oxford Development Studies
View Publication
Abstract

In recent years, developing countries have deregulated, privatized and liberalized their economies. Surprisingly, they have also retained or even strengthened their labor regulations. These contrasting policy orientations create a novel challenge without obvious solutions. To understand how developing country states can ensure reasonable levels of labor standards without compromising the ability of domestic firms to compete, this paper examines how labor inspectors and prosecutors intervened in four troublesome industries in Brazil. It finds that regulatory enforcement agents use their discretion and legal powers to realign incentives, reshape interests, and redistribute the risks, costs and benefits of compliance across a tailor-made assemblage of public, private and non-profit agents adjacent to the violations. By fulfilling this role, these agents become the foot-soldiers of a post-neoliberal or neo-developmental state.

2011

Coslovsky, S., Pires, R. & Silbey, S. 2011. The Pragmatic Politics of Regulatory Enforcement Handbook on the Politics of Regulation, edited by David Levi-Faur, London: Edward Elgar Publishers
View working paper
Abstract

This chapter describes regulatory enforcement as an intrinsically political endeavor. We argue that regulatory enforcement, as enacted daily by front-line
enforcers around the world, consists of the production of local agreements and arrangements that realign interests, reshape conflicts, and redistribute the risks, costs, and benefits of doing business and complying with the law. We argue that, through their transactions, both the regulators and the regulated reshape both their interests and the environment in which they operate, reconstructing their perceptions of and preferences for compliance. We call this phenomenon the “sub-politics of regulatory enforcement,” and claim that it provides a springboard for a pragmatic approach to better regulation

Coslovsky, S. 2011. How Brazilian prosecutors enforce labor and environmental laws: The organizational basis of creative problem-solving Regulation and Governance (special issue)
View article
Abstract

Brazil's 8,000 prosecutors sit at the crux of the country's legal system, deciding who gets indicted and sued for common crimes and a wide array of civil violations. In many cases, particularly those concerning the most recalcitrant labor and environmental violations, prosecutors realize that compliance is not only a matter of avarice or ignorance. To the opposite, in these cases compliance requires costly and risky changes in business practices that the managers of the implicated firms are unwilling or unable to carry out on their own. Rather than prosecute, which they anticipate will eliminate jobs and undermine business profitability, or clarify the law, which they fear will be futile, prosecutors reach out and assemble a network of institutions willing to cover some of the costs and insure some of the risks associated with these changes. Ultimately, they lead an effort of inter-institutional root-cause analysis and joint-problem solving, and through this endeavor they make compliance the easiest and most obvious choice for all involved. This paper briefly describes this kind of creative problem-solving and then it analyzes how this government agency encourages and sustains this kind of deviant practice within its ranks.

2009

Silbey, S., Huising, R. & Coslovsky, S.V. 2009. The "Sociological Citizen": Relational Interdependence in Law and Organizations L'Année Sociologique, v. 59, n'1, p.201-229.
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Abstract

In this paper we describe three examples of what we call “the sociological citizen,” environmental health and safety workers, law enforcement officers, and firm managers who see their work and themselves as links in a complex web of interactions and processes rather than as offices of delimited responsibilities and interests.  Instead of focusing closely and only sporadically taking account of the larger connections and reverberations of their actions, these actors view their organizations or states as the outcome of human decisions, indecisions, trial and error, rather than rationally organized action.  In this dynamic entity, they reconceive their own role as insignificant by itself yet essential to the whole.  We locate this observation first within Durkheim’s notion of social facts and later hypothesize that twentieth century social science may have contributed to reified conceptions of social relations unnecessarily obscuring this ground level everyday work of social construction.  We offer this conception of the sociological citizen as a hypothesis with which to explore more systematically variations in organizational performances and outcomes.   We suggest, first, that actors’ perception of the structure of social action and relational interdependence will vary in perhaps predictable ways. Second, apprehension of relational interdependence will, in turn, affect role performances.

In the Press

11/16/2009
Wagner Professor Examines Problem-solving Prosecutors in Brazil
NYU Today / Research