In the last decade, market-centered economic reforms have been implemented in a wide range of developing and transitional countries under the auspices of the international financial institutions. Whether or not they deliver the promised prosperity, they appear to be associated with widening economic inequality as well as disadvantage for particular social groups, among them women and workers. Recharacterizing Restructuring argues that such effects are neither temporary nor accidental. Instead, efforts to promote growth through greater efficiency inevitably engage distributive concerns. Change in the status of different groups is connected to the process of legal and institutional reform.
Part I analyzes the place of law and institutional reform in current economic restructuring policies. Through post-realist legal analysis and institutional economics, it discusses the role of background legal rules in the allocation of resources and power among different groups.
Part II traces how disadvantage might result for women in the course of economic reform, through an analysis of the World Bank's proposals for states in transition from plan to market economies. It considers such foundational issues as the place of unpaid work in economic activity, as well as the gendered nature of proposals to re-organize productive activity and the role of the state.