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June 2013

Crafting Policies Where Informal is Normal – Part 1

Martha Chen's picture

In the developing world, the informal workforce is at least half of the total workforce, and therefore subject to with low incomes, high risks, and no formal contracts or benefits. We recently spoke with Martha Chen, a Lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School and the International Coordinator of the WIEGO Network. In part 1 of this two-part series, she argues that "informal is normal."

Targeting Youth to Reduce South Africa’s Unemployment

Ingrid Woolard's picture

IT training for kids who live in the surrounding farm areas of Stutterheim outside East London in the Eastern Cape. South Africa. Photo: Trevor Samson / World Bank

Globally youth are, on average, nearly three times more likely to be unemployed than older adults. In South Africa this problem has been exacerbated by the global downturn. When the economy slowed down, youth unemployment began to rise sooner than adult unemployment, suggesting that younger people are more vulnerable to changing economic conditions. The question arises whether interventions should focus on youth among the unemployed. I would argue that interventions should specifically target youth, as they face some significant barriers to entering the labor market.

Do Mentoring Programs Work?

Núria Rodríguez-Planas's picture

Young people are among the big losers of the recent financial crisis, with their rates of unemployment and joblessness double those of the adult population in many countries. Can formal mentoring programs help youth who are disadvantaged and most-at-risk? It's a question that Núria Rodriguez-Planas, a Visiting Research Fellow at Germany's Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) has explored. She tells the JKP that rigorous evaluations of U.S. programs find positive yet modest effects — especially in the "soft" skills (self esteem, relationship with peers and parents).

Spain's Hard-Hit Labor Market

Núria Rodríguez-Planas's picture

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.

Can We Help Youth Become Entrepreneurs?

David Robalino's picture

World Bank economist Ritva Reinikka leads the panel discussion "Youth Employment"

On May 20, the JKP organized "Jobs and Shared Prosperity Day," which brought together development practitioners and researchers from numerous sectors and disciplines to exchange insights. We had sessions on a variety of issues related to jobs, such as youth, rights, skills, gender, enterprise dynamics, and the recent global financial crisis. We also took the opportunity to deliver the prizes for the Experiences from the Field, a contest that showcases projects aimed at creating jobs and improving employment possibilities.