LAC Main Seminar Series: Direct Contestation: The Distributive Outcomes of Unmediated Conflict Between Communities and Mining in Latin America

Convener: David Doyle

Speaker: Matthew Amengual, University of Oxford


week 2 main


Matthew Amengual’s areas of expertise are in the political economy of development and global labour standards. His work explores the politics of promoting economic development that is both equitable and sustainable. Matthew’s research is rooted in comparative political economy and focuses on regulation, Latin American politics, and global labour standards. His first book, Politicized Enforcement in Argentina: Labor and Environmental Regulation (Cambridge University Press), asks the question: Why do states enforce regulations in some places, and in some industries, but not in others? It develops a framework for analysing enforcement in middle-income and developing countries, showing how informal linkages between state officials and groups within society allow officials to gain the operational resources and political support necessary for enforcement.


He is currently writing a book tentatively titled Direct Contestation that develops a theory to explain different outcomes that arise when firms face demands by societal actors unmediated by state institutions.  Empirically, this book draws on mixed-method analyses of mining operations in Bolivia and Peru.  Beyond its theoretical contribution, this work will inform strategies employed by various actors to make large projects, such as extractives operations, more likely to foster inclusive local development. Matthew also has an active research agenda on the ways in which labour standards are enforced in global supply chains. He is currently studying how lead firms integrate sourcing and labour compliance when structuring their relationships with suppliers. This research builds on previous work he conducted on developing country firm preferences for labour regulation and the interactions between international and state labour regulation. 


He is currently an Associate Editor at the Industrial and Labor Relations Review. Prior to joining the Saïd Business School, Matthew was an Associate Professor of Work and Organization Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Matthew received his AB in environmental studies from Brown University, and his Master’s in city planning and PhD in political science, both from MIT.