In Nigeria, Africa’s largest and most populous country, more women are engaging in work than ever before. By 2011, more than half (57%) of women 15-64 years old were in some form of employment. The increase in women working has been driven by women with the least amount of schooling finding work –these are the women who are more likely to be out of work than those who have had access to more schooling.
The recent revolutions in the Middle East have brought even more urgency to the perennial challenge of how policies can help create better job opportunities for youth. North Africa, along with Sub-Saharan Africa and South India, has among the world’s highest population growth rates and as one widely quoted study put it, “the Arab Spring could not have occurred without the ideological and numerical push of a huge mass of angry youth.” Neighboring countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, which still has among the highest birth rates in the world, noticed.
As governments debate labor market regulations — a highly controversial topic, sometimes for ideological reasons — it is vital to base decisions on empirical evidence. Thus, a welcome addition to the debate is the work of Gordon Betcherman — a Professor in the School of International Development and Global Studies, University of Ottawa — who contends that the key challenge for policy makers is to avoid the extremes of over- and under-regulation.
Labor regulations are important to protect workers and create good jobs, though many critics contend that such policies undercut job creation. The best ways design and implement them may remain a source of debate, but research in the World Bank's 2013 World Development Report on Jobs shows that these regulations don't have much impact on employment, and can even prevent worker abuse and inadequate working conditions.
In developed countries, vocal debates about how much immigration is desirable often make the headlines, but what’s the case for migration in the developing world? We recently discussed this topic with one of the leading experts on the economics of migration — Amelie Constant, Program Director of Migration at the Institute for the Study of Labor (Bonn), and a visiting professor at George Washington University and Temple University.
In the first quarter of 2013, Spain had the highest unemployment rate in the European Union, at 27 percent, along with Greece. For youth, the situation was even worse, at over 50 percent. It's a dramatic turnaround from early 2008, when overall unemployment was around 8 percent. But that was before the recession set in and the real estate bubble burst.. The JKP recently spoke with Nuria Rodriguez-Planas, a Visiting Research Fellow at Germany's Institute of Labor (IZA), about how Spain's labor market has evolved.
We know there are large gender gaps in labor markets. But how pervasive are they and what can be done about them? At the November 2012 LACEA (Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association) — LAMES (Latin American Meeting of the Econometric Society) conference in Peru, academics presented new evidence on the extent of gender gaps in the labor market and some of the underlying explanations for the patterns observed.
Nearly two years after the "Great Recession" officially ended in the United States according to the NBER, the labor markets in many countries remain stagnant. At the recent Latin American Economic Association Meetings (LACEA) in Peru (Nov. 1-3), several presentations attempted to shed light on the impact of shocks originating in credit markets on the labor market. Today’s blog highlights three working papers – all still works in progress – that suggest that all recessions are not created equal and that much more research is needed to understand better how labor markets function.
"The biggest economy in the euro area, Germany's, is in a bad way. And its ills are a main cause of the euro's own weakness. [...] Thus the biggest economic problem for Europe today is how to revive the German economy."
This excerpt from The Economist in June 1999 illustrates that not so long ago, the "sick man in Europe" was Germany. The phenomenon of successive, recession-related waves of unemployment that ended up accumulating was considered to be a European problem, and Germany served as the prime example for the pattern of high and rising unemployment. The country faced severe problems in its labor market, which have often been linked to the high level of employment protection, high labor costs, and the strictly regulated labor market.