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More Trade is Better for Jobs

Gladys Lopez-Acevedo's picture

Women working in an Indonesian rubber plantation, Java by Steward Leiwakabessy 2011

How can policymakers in developing countries create “good” jobs at a time when most economies are now firmly integrated into the global economy? This goal is critical because the Great Recession that began in 2007-08 has left many economies with far too little job creation and uncomfortably high unemployment rates, especially among youth. As a result, in some countries, there have been renewed calls for greater protectionism.

Olympic Efforts to Create Jobs?

Mary Hallward-Driemeier's picture

Olympic Efforts to Create Jobs? by Mary Hallward-Driemeier

My hometown hosted the Olympics in 1976. It was absolutely thrilling. Along with all the other young women and girls I knew, Nadia Comaneci stole my heart and imagination. At the time, all I cared about was the excitement, the pageantry, and the competition. Now, while being captivated again by the Olympics, I have other questions.

A More Modern, Inclusive Tunisia

Radhi Meddeb's picture

The “Arab Spring,” which began in Tunisia in December 2010, heard calls for jobs, dignity, better governance, and a more inclusive growth model. Over a year later, how is Tunisia doing on the labor front? We spoke with Radhi Meddeb – President of Action et Développement Solidaire (a Tunisian civil society group), Chairman of COMETE Engineering Group, and Chairman of IPEMED (a Euro-Mediterranean think-tank). He cites job creation as the nation’s top priority.

A Road to the Beach

David Robalino's picture

Juanjo at Bar Marina

I often come to Same, Ecuador for vacations. It's a very small town of unknown population on the country’s northern Pacific coast. About 25 years ago, the only way to get there was in cars with four-wheel drive, but now there is a paved road that brings visitors from Quito down the Andes in around 5 1/2 hours. Economists would normally predict that better infrastructure – in this case, improved access – would bode well for a small, isolated town. But the reality, certainly in the eyes of the long-time locals, is that the opposite occurred.

Women and Jobs in Afghanistan

Sima Samar's picture

Women in Afghanistan continue to constitute a very small part of the official labor force. We asked Sima Samar, Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, what could be done to give women greater economic opportunities. She stressed the importance of empowering women for themselves, their families, and society, and the role of education in changing attitudes.

Socio-emotional Skills Matter

Sergio Urzúa's picture

We’ve long known that cognitive skills, such as literacy and numeracy, matter greatly for employment and wages. But how about non-cognitive skills – the “soft” skills, such as self-esteem and motivation? We spoke with Sergio Urzúa, Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Maryland, whose research has focused on how these different types of skills determine schooling decisions, labor market outcomes, and social behavior.

Jobs, Wages, and Exports Post-MFA Phase-out

Gladys Lopez-Acevedo's picture

At the end of 2004, the Multifibre Arrangement (MFA) was finally phased out, and with it, 30 years of quota restrictions by industrial countries on textile and apparel imports from developing countries. As expected, this phase-out led to a substantial reallocation of production and employment worldwide. In 2008, 70 percent of global apparel exports came from developing countries, making the sector a critical engine of growth. It often provides entry into formal employment for the unskilled, the poor, and women, owing to the relatively low technology and the labor-intensive nature of the work.

Tackling the Problem of Informality

Ravi Kanbur's picture

Local vendor. Yemen. Photo: Scott Wallace / World Bank

In recent years, there has been a strong interest in the informal economy, which is estimated to comprise 50-75 percent of the non-agricultural labor force in developing countries. It is seen as problematic by many observers, not least because of its association with poverty and low productivity.Little consensus exists on the diagnosis of the problem, let alone on policies to address it. One way to bridge these divergent views and facilitate policy conclusions is a simple framework that clearly delineates what constitutes formal and informal activities. 

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