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Prof Kevin Middlebrook
Prof Kevin Middlebrook profile picture
  • Professor of Latin American Politics
  • Institute of the Americas
  • Faculty of S&HS

Kevin J. Middlebrook is Professor of Politics at the Institute of the Americas.  Between 1995 and 2001 he was Director of the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the University of California, San Diego, where he also held an appointment as Adjunct Professor of Political Science. 


Educated at Harvard University, he has held postdoctoral fellowships at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies (1983-84, 1991) and the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University (1993-94), as well as research grants from the Fulbright Commission, the Fulbright-Hays Commission, the Social Science Research Council, the Howard Heinz Endowment and the Nuffield Foundation. 


Professor Middlebrook is the author of The Paradox of Revolution: Labor, the State, and Authoritarianism in Mexico (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), winner of the 1996 Hubert Herring Book Prize from the Pacific Coast Council of Latin American Studies, and co-author of Mexico Since 1980: A Second Revolution in Economics, Politics, and Society (Cambridge University Press, 2008) and Organized Labour and Politics in Mexico: Changes, Continuities and Contradictions (Institute for the Study of the Americas, 2012).  He is also editor or co-editor of nine books: The United States and Latin America in the 1980s: Contending Perspectives on a Decade of Crisis (1986); Unions, Workers, and the State in Mexico (1991); The Politics of Economic Restructuring: State-Society Relations and Regime Change in Mexico (1994); Electoral Observation and Democratic Transitions in Latin America (1998); Conservative Parties, the Right, and Democracy in Latin America (2000); Party Politics and the Struggle for Democracy in Mexico: National and State-Level Analyses of the Partido Acción Nacional (2001); Confronting Development: Assessing Mexico’s Economic and Social Policy Challenges (2003); Dilemmas of Political Change in Mexico (2004); and Producción de exportación, desarrollo económico y el futuro de la industria maquiladora en México (2005). 



Research Summary

Professor Middlebrook’s current research examines institutional arrangements governing labour rights in the context of trade liberalization and economic globalization. It focuses empirically on the special labour institutions created in association with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), evaluating their performance over their first fifteen years of operation and exploring the domestic and international factors that have shaped their capacity to address labour rights violations in Canada, Mexico and the United States. The project also compares the NAFTA experience with labour-rights regimes in the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) and the European Union, and it assesses the effectiveness of trade agreement-linked institutional arrangements compared to such alternative rights-protection strategies as corporate social responsibility campaigns and internationally sanctioned labour norms like those promoted by the International Labour Organization.


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