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  • Author: Sungchul Park, Hansoo Ko
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Effective as of July 1, 2018, South Korea set a new cap on employees’ weekly working hours, decreasing the maximum number from 68 to 52. In this study, we comprehensively analyze the effectiveness of the law’s implementation by observing changes in work time, health status, health care utilization, health behavior, monthly expenses, and satisfaction between pre- and post-implementation periods (2014–2017 vs. 2019). We find evidence of both intended and unintended consequences—and, in this last category, some are beneficial and some not. As intended, employees eligible for the 52-hour work week saw their average working hours decrease, while their monthly spending on leisure increased substantially. A beneficial unintended consequence was that work time also decreased in firms with less than 300 employees that had not yet implemented the 52-hour work schedule (they have done so since, in January 2020). Among adverse unintended consequences, the most notable were heterogeneous effects across employment types (full-time vs. precarious employment) and, in particular, negative impacts on precarious employees (that is, those facing relatively high levels of job insecurity). Despite almost no change in their work time, precarious employees saw substantial increases in outpatient visits and monthly expenses for health care, indicating suggestive evidence of adverse health consequences. Another adverse unintended consequence was that overall job satisfaction decreased among several groups of employees. This may reflect a heavy workload among employees still expected to work overtime, especially experienced employees or those working in large firms. While employment rates increased after the new schedule’s implementation, the majority were in precarious jobs. This has negative implications because of the adverse health impacts of being in precarious employment; also, the workload of experienced employees in this field might have intensified amid all the new hiring. Our findings suggest key policy recommendations for how to leverage the benefits of the 52-hour cap on weekly working hours while addressing its negative unintended consequences.
  • Topic: Health, Labor Issues, Employment, Labor Policies
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Sarah Cliffe, Paul von Chamier, Nendirmwa Noel
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Lockdown measures have been an integral tool in the fight against COVID-19. But they come at a high cost, given their impacts on economies, employment and incomes, education, food systems, mental health and even the potential for civil unrest. This policy briefing by Sarah Cliffe, Paul von Chamier, and Nendirmwa Noel examines how countries are balancing the need for lockdown with policy measures to alleviate their effects and plans for reopening. It provides comparative data on the stringency of lockdowns, showing that while there has been a convergence towards more stringent measures over time, there is also wide variation among countries—even among those in the same region, or income group. A brief case study of Sierra Leone and snapshot examples of policy from ten other countries illustrates the range of answers to the question of how much lockdown is enough.
  • Topic: Employment, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sierra Leone, Global Focus
  • Author: Sara Ghebremusse
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Despite Africa's wealth of natural resources, millions of its people live in extreme poverty. Effective mining governance can help Africa address this imbalance by achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1 (to end poverty) and SDG 8 (to create sustainable economic growth and decent work for all). Reforms aimed at generating more revenue for national governments to address poverty and building new partnerships between public and private sectors to promote economic growth and boost employment can help achieve these goals.
  • Topic: Poverty, United Nations, Natural Resources, Employment, Sustainable Development Goals, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Kazunobu Hayakawa, Tadashi Ito, Shujiro Urata
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: The impacts of imports on the domestic labour market have been hotly debated recently. The purpose of this paper is to empirically examine the effects of not only imports from China but also those under regional trade agreements (RTAs) on employment in Japan. As in previous studies in the literature, we found that the rise in import penetration from China significantly decreases employment in Japan. However, import penetration under RTA regimes is found to have insignificant effects on employment. The finding suggests that the increase in imports under RTA regimes might not be harmful to the domestic labour market. In addition, we did not find significant effects of import penetration via input–output linkages. This insignificant result may be because imports by Japanese manufacturing firms are mostly conducted in the form of intra-firm trade, enabling them to avoid negative impacts on employment.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Labor Issues, Employment, Manufacturing
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia
  • Author: Thu Thu Vu, Duc Anh Dang
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: Advanced machines and technology replace workers through automation. However, capital–labour substitution need not reduce aggregate labour demand, as it induces simultaneous contrasting effects within industries. To explore these effects, we examine the relationship between employment in Vietnamese manufacturing firms and imported capital goods in 2011–2017. To solve the problem of potential endogeneity and measurement errors, we used Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) imported capital goods as an instrument variable for imported capital goods in Viet Nam. We found that imported capital goods do not displace employment and even increase employment and labour productivity. The impacts of imported advanced technology are more pronounced in large firms. More imported technology increases labour productivity in state-owned enterprises and the number of workers in large firms and firms in industrial zones. However, the increase in the level of employment is lower in industries and firms intensively using machines.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, Employment, Imports
  • Political Geography: Asia, Vietnam
  • Author: Đoàn Thi Thanh Ha
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This paper examines the impacts of advanced technology on a possible change in workers’ skills, wages, and employment due to such technological advancement. Three proxies of advanced technologies are used in the study: (i) information and communications technology, (ii) intensity of robot use, and (iii) value of e-commerce. Our study compares the effects of technological advancements on labour market outcomes with import penetration, delineating into raw materials, capital goods, and final products. Our results show that in Thailand, the impact of advanced technology in pushing workers out of the job market is limited. Instead, it tends to affect reallocation of workers between skilled and unskilled positions. The results vary amongst proxies of technology and sectors. It seems that workers in comparatively capital-intensive industries, including automotive, plastics and chemicals, and electronics and machinery, are the most affected by advanced technology. Dampened wage/income is found only in some proxies of technology and sectors. Our results show less concern of negative impacts induced by imports, particularly imports of capital goods and raw materials, on employment status and income than technological advancement.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Employment, Manufacturing, Job Creation, Labor Rights
  • Political Geography: Asia, Thailand
  • Author: Dina Fakoussa, Laura Lale Kabis-Kechrid
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Even though the Moroccan king’s readiness to introduce reforms in response to the mass protests in 2011 has prevented the kind of radical change occurring in many other countries in the MENA region and has maintained the country’s relative stability, Morocco’s social peace remains fragile. Social unrest has flared recurrently, most prominently in the Rif region, as socio-economic grievances persist. The country continues to suffer from significant regional disparities, a poor education system, and high unemployment, especially among the young.
  • Topic: Education, Migration, Employment, Protests, Unemployment
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Africa, Morocco
  • Author: Dina Fakoussa, Laura Lale Kabis-Kechrid
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Jordan’s stability is severely challenged by socio-economic hardship. The country is plagued by high un-employment rates, an alarming debt-to-GDP ratio of around 94 percent, corruption, and dismal social ser-vices. The fight against terrorism has also resulted in further infringement of rights such as freedom of expression. These grievances have led to a series of protests and strikes in the past two years; the latest strike by teachers has had a far-reaching impact on the public.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, Terrorism, Employment, Economy, Freedom of Expression, Protests, Unemployment, Social Cohesion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Jordan
  • Author: Dina Fakoussa, Laura Lale Kabis-Kechrid
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Grievances have been growing over Jordan’s socio-economic and political problems, including high public debt, a significant current account deficit, and high unemployment. In June 2018, former Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki was forced to resign after mass protests swept the country in response to a new income tax law proposal. Jordan’s socio-economic challenges are further augmented by its challenging neighborhood. This includes the conflicts in neighboring Syria and Iraq, the threat posed by extremist actors in the region as well as the impact which the Gulf Cooperation Council’s crisis over the blockade of Qatar has had on Jordan.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, Employment, Trade
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria, Jordan
  • Author: Merab Kakulia, Nodar Kapanadze, Lela Bakhtadze
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgian Foundation for Strategic International Studies -GFSIS
  • Abstract: The Quarterly Review of the Georgian Economy is an electronic publication of the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (Rondeli Foundation), which aims at informing readers about the ongoing processes within the country’s economy. The review is based on data of official statistics and on expert estimates.
  • Topic: Debt, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment, Budget, Employment, Economy, Economic growth, Banks, Inflation
  • Political Geography: Eurasia, Caucasus, Georgia