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Labor and Social Protection

Retreat from mandatory pension funds in Eastern and Central Europe

Agnieszka Chłoń-Domińczak's picture
Over the next few decades, the consequences of an ageing population will be particularly visible in Central and Eastern Europe. These developments were behind the multi-pillar pension systems reforms at the end of 1990s and at the beginning of the century. After the financial and fiscal crisis of 2008, these reforms were slowed down and partially or fully reversed. In our recent study of this retreat from mandatory pension funds in Central and Eastern European countries, we look at the causes and consequences of these changes.
 

Starting life off on the wrong foot

Markus Goldstein's picture
I was recently at the GW conference on the economics & political economy of Africa where I saw an interesting paper by Richard Akresh, Emilie Bagby, Damien de Walque, and Harounan Kazianga on Burkina Faso.    Akresh and co. make another compelling argument for focusing on early childhood (and indeed, in utero).   Kids whose household has a shock during this critical period are less smart – and this leads to them going to school less. 

Can North Africa leapfrog together in work and welfare?

Heba Elgazzar's picture
Dana Smilie

It was December 8, 2010, when I boarded a plane after a routine trip to Tunisia.  There was nothing out of the ordinary that would have provided a clue as to the dramatic upheaval to come.   The taxi drivers rarely spoke of politics, poverty was an untouchable topic of conversation, and YouTube was blocked.  However, over the course of that winter, uprisings erupted throughout Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and beyond that called for greater social justice.  Investment policies had privileged elites for too long. Social and labor policies had not been that effective at promoting inclusiveness.   Each country has since struggled to maintain political stability while addressing demands for improving work and welfare, with mixed results. 

Opportunity entrepreneurs are key to jobs and growth

Madhur Jha's picture
What makes some entrepreneurs grow their businesses and employ hundreds, or even thousands, of people? Knowing this is crucial for all governments keen to drive economic growth. For economic development, it is important to focus on opportunity entrepreneurs instead of subsistence entrepreneurs. They are likely to grow their business faster, employ more people, and introduce innovation that could help fill important gaps in the market, while boosting productivity in the economy.
 

Underlying determinants: the starting point on the path to youth employment

Matt Hobson's picture
On May 1st, the world marks International Worker’s Day. Sadly, hundreds of millions of young people have little to celebrate. Instead, they struggle to find work or secure a decent livelihood – and right now, their options don’t look to be getting much better. We have developed a conceptual pathway to employment that shows how all stakeholders can work together to achieve youth employment at scale.  At the same time, our framework recognizes that youth take their first steps on the pathway beset with what we may call ‘underlying determinants’ or characteristics that can shape choices or affect their opportunities.
 

Improving compliance with minimum wage standards

Uma Rani's picture
Minimum wage standards have the force of law. Yet, establishing a legally binding minimum wage does not in itself mean that these are applied in practice. In reality, compliance is always less than perfect in both advanced and developing countries. Understanding which factors determine compliance is important. Our analysis shows that compliance is affected by both the level at which minimum wages are set relative to average wages, as well as by institutional factors.

Remnants of the Soviet past: Restrictions on women's employment in the Commonwealth of Independent States

Alena Sakhonchik's picture
My father (see photo) is a long-distance trucker based in Belarus. As a young girl, I spent long hours on the road with him. I loved traveling to neighboring and faraway cities and—even though I could barely reach the pedals at the time—dreamed of becoming a truck driver myself one day. Life ended up taking me on another path, but it wasn’t until I was older that I learned that the option of being a truck driver was never open to me to begin with. Why? Because my native country prohibits women from being truck drivers, one of the 182 professions out of bounds for women. And it’s not only Belarus that bars women from certain jobs. A majority of the former Soviet Republics that make up the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States (IPA CIS) have lengthy lists of job restrictions for women, a remnant of a 1932 Soviet Union law that carried over into their national legislation after the collapse of the USSR.
 

Higher education for the 21st century in action

Joe Qian's picture
The graduating class of the University of Moratuwa’s Department of Textile and Clothing Technology. Photo Credit: Isuru Udara

Imagine a school that teaches knowledge and provides hands-on training. A place where students express confidence in their skills, and are excited to make a difference in their future jobs. A bastion of confidence and optimism, where 100% of graduating students have jobs lined up before graduation.
 
Sounds too good to be true? I found this haven at the University of Moratuwa’s Department of Textile and Clothing Technology, supported by the Higher Education for the 21st Century Project (HETC), which is designed to modernize education by its increasing its quality and relevance. 24-year-old Malaka Perera, who is graduating next month, told me how the program has helped him build a foundation for his career. “The program taught me how to deal with people, along with communications and problem solving skills that I used during my internship. As a result, finding a job was quite easy.”
 
Sri Lankans have enjoyed the benefits of broad education access for decades, which has allowed the country to build human capital to rise and become a middle income country. However, as a country with rising aspirations in an increasingly globalized world and competitive region, the quality and relevance of its education system is key for the country to maintain its edge and reach new heights.

Against xenophobia and national barriers—in light of the refugee crisis in Europe

Olga Nottmeyer's picture
Whether—and how—to integrate asylum seekers features prominently on the political agenda in so many European countries. The situation in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries facing conflict, civil war, and terrorism make it impossible to ignore the challenges associated with the mass migration of people from these areas. Ignoring the crisis is no solution; neither is xenophobic rhetoric or building more fences and tightening border controls. There is, however, a sensible approach that would certainly help with integrating refugees in the destination countries‘ labor markets.
 

Jobs and economic transformation for IDA countries

Thomas Farole's picture
Policymakers the world over are concerned about jobs. It is often the first thing they talk about when World Bank delegations meet them, and the last message they leave us with on our way back to Washington. So it should come as no surprise that jobs has been chosen as one of the central themes of the IDA-18 replenishment round.
 
 

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