One of the most destructive effects of the global financial crisis on many countries has been a rise in unemployment. To address this, policy makers everywhere are putting a great deal of energy into devising policies that will increase the proportion of their adult population in jobs. With the publication of Women, Business and Law data, which was updated in 2011, we have fresh insight into one particular issue of employment: encouraging female labour force participation.
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We are used to thinking of landlocked countries as victims of geography. We worry that Ethiopia, Mali, Rwanda and Zimbabwe, among others, cannot benefit fully from flows of trade, tourism and knowledge. But do these countries use policies to improve connectivity and offset the handicap of location?
A new services policy database shows a perverse pattern. Landlocked countries tend to restrict trade in key “linking” services like transport and telecommunications more than other countries.
Zambia, for example, bravely liquidated its national airline in 1994, but it still denies “fifth freedom rights” to Ethiopia to fly the Addis Ababa-Lusaka-Johannesburg route, and to Kenya to fly the Nairobi-Lusaka-Harare route. In fact, the restrictive policies of many African countries make a mockery of the decade- old Yamoussoukro Decision (and a subsequent COMESA agreement) to liberalize air transport.
Editor’s Note: The following is a guest contribution by Susan Lund, Director of Research at the McKinsey Global Institute. She will be speaking at the World Bank on the topic of job creation on January 24 as part of the FPD Chief Economist Talk series.
Perhaps no topic is more pressing today than the growing jobs and employment problem. We estimate that there are 40 million unemployed in high-income countries and tens of millions more who have dropped out of the workforce or are under-employed. Not only does this exact a toll in human misery and dampen lifetime economic prospects, but it also places a drag on aggregate demand and tax receipts at a time when both are sorely needed.
Unfortunately, these 40 million may just be the foretaste of what could be in store. Increasingly, the job market in developed economies is bifurcating: full-time employment, job security and rising incomes for high-skill, technically trained, and entrepreneurial workers—and the opposite for almost everyone else. Factories are becoming places of many robots and a few high-skill technicians. The modern office is becoming more virtual—a network of task specialists who may work remotely and are increasingly likely to be part-time or contract labor. Shops are online; those made of brick and mortar increasingly are self-serve and self-checkout.
Every day we are reminded that the challenges faced in eradicating poverty are multifaceted and include complex economic, social, political, and cultural dimensions. For this reason, we work with a number of partners and experiment with many technologies to try and leverage the right community with the right skills and tools to address a given challenge.
I’ve been meaning to read for the last month this new paper by Orazio Attanasio and co-authors, which is the latest in the still small number of studies to carry out a randomized experiment to measure the impact of microfinance. David Roodman was quick to give his thoughts on it in this post, but I thought I’d also summarize it briefly for you and offer my thoughts.
Tunisia demonstrated one year ago that citizens' voice matters. Accountability is a must. Government legitimacy is key. Starting from Tunisia, a wave of revolutions now commonly referred to as the "Arab Spring" spread to the entire Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Citizens demanded voice, accountability and opportunity for all, not only for a selected few and mostly privileged. The World Bank has taken significant steps to support this rapid and positive change.
· A New paper has innovative way of getting data on H1B migrants – they obtained administrative data through a Freedom of Information Act request – and use this for most comprehensive look yet at how high-skilled migrants coming through H1B compare to natives.