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  • Author: Elizabeth Saleh
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Discussions on waste policy in Lebanon tend to focus on the country’s corrupt practices and the health and environmental impact of bad waste management. This paper examines an overlooked aspect: the story of waste pickers — many of whom are economic or forced migrants — who are essential to Lebanon’s garbage management. Through an ethnographic study of a group of underage waste pickers, it argues that it is time for policy debates on garbage in Lebanon to integrate the perspective of waste workers.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Labor Issues, Recycling, Garbage
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: George J. Borjas, Anthony Edo
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: Immigrant supply shocks are typically expected to reduce the wage of comparable workers. Natives may respond to the lower wage by moving to markets that were not directly targeted by immigrants and where presumably the wage did not drop. This paper argues that the wage change observed in the targeted market depends not only on the size of the native response, but also on which natives choose to respond. A non-random response alters the composition of the sample of native workers, mechanically changing the average native wage in affected markets and biasing the estimated wage impact of immigration. We document the importance of this selection bias in the French labor market, where women accounted for a rapidly increasing share of the foreign-born workforce since 1976. The raw correlations suggest that the immigrant supply shock did not change the wage of French women, but led to a sizable decline in their employment rate. In contrast, immigration had little impact on the employment rate of men, but led to a sizable drop in the male wage. We show that the near-zero correlation between immigration and female wages arises partly because the native women who left the labor force had relatively low wages. Adjusting for the selection bias results in a similar wage elasticity for both French men and women (between -0.8 and -1.0).
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Political Economy, Labor Issues, Immigration, Workforce
  • Political Geography: France
  • Author: Julian Pedrazzi, Leonardo Penaloza
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
  • Abstract: In this paper we analyze the impact of Venezuelan migration on the female labor supply in Colombia. Using a instrumental variable approach we found significant drops in the female labor supply, mainly on those women with lower qualifications. In contrast, we observe significant increases for high-skilled women with family responsibilities, such as childcare. These results are consistent with a redistribution of time use, where women spend fewer hours on household tasks and more time in the labor market. Our results provide novel evidence of the consequences of forced migration between developing countries on the female labor supply.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Migration, Labor Issues, Employment
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America, Venezuela
  • Author: Leonardo Gasparini, Irene Brambilla, Guillermo Falcone, Carlo Lombardo, Andres Cesar
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
  • Abstract: We study changes in employment by occupations characterized by different degree of exposure to routinization in the six largest Latin American economies over the last two decades. We combine our own indicators of routine task content based on information from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIACC) with labor market microdata from harmonized national household surveys. We find that the increase in jobs was decreasing in the automatability of the tasks typically performed in each occupation, and increasing in the initial wage, a pattern more consistent with the traditional skill-biased technological change than with the polarization hypothesis.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Employment, Automation, Job Creation
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, North America
  • Author: Emilio Gutierrez, David Jaume, Martin Tobal
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
  • Abstract: This paper studies the extent to which increases in bank credit supply available for small and medium firms can foster formal employment in Mexico. We use a detailed dataset containing loan-level information for all loans extended by commercial banks to private firms in Mexico during the 2010-2016 period, when the economy was relatively stable. To obtain exogenous variation in credit supply, we exploit differences in the regional presence of Mexican banks across local labor markets by combining pre-existing market shares with national-level changes in banks’ credit supply, after accounting for local credit demand shocks. Then, we use employment registry data to compare changes in the number of formal workers registered by small and medium firms in local labor markets differently exposed to these shocks. We find that credit supply shocks have a large impact on formal employment: a positive credit shock of one standard deviation increases yearly employment growth by 0.45 percentage points (13 percent of the mean). Our results differ from the null to small effects identified by previous literature for developed countries, suggesting that credit supply shocks play a more prominent role for employment creation (and destruction) in low and middle-income countries.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Employment, Credit
  • Political Geography: North America, Mexico
  • Author: Jason Furman, Melissa Kearney, Wilson Powell III
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This working paper examines how much of the overall decline in employment between the beginning of 2020 and 2021 can be explained by excess job loss among parents of young children, and mothers specifically. Using data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), the authors confirm that, in general, mothers with young children have experienced a larger decline in employment, as compared (unconditionally) with other adults, including fathers. This excess job loss is driven by mothers without a four-year college degree. The main point of the paper is to build off this observation and examine how much of the aggregate employment deficit in early 2021 can be explained by parent-specific issues, such as childcare struggles. To examine this question, the authors construct counterfactual employment rates and labor force participation rates that assign to mothers of young children the percent change in employment and labor force participation rates experienced by comparable women without young children. The paper considers multiple definition, sample, and counterfactual specification alternatives. The analysis yields robust evidence that differential job loss among mothers of young children accounts for a negligible share of the ongoing aggregate employment deficit. The result is even stronger (and flips signs) if all parents are considered, since fathers with young children experienced less job loss than other men. The practical implication of these findings is that nearly all of the aggregate ongoing employment deficit is explained by factors that affect workers more broadly, as opposed to challenges specific to working parents.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Children, Pandemic, COVID-19, Childcare
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Anna Stansbury
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: To what extent do US firms have an incentive to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)? Stansbury examines this question through a simple comparison of the expected costs of noncompliance (in terms of legal sanctions) to the profits firms can earn through noncompliance. In the case of the FLSA minimum wage and overtime provisions, typical willful violators are required to pay back wages owed and in some cases additional penalties, if detected by the Department of Labor (DOL). Based on available data on the penalties levied, a typical firm would need to expect a chance of at least 78-88 percent that its violation would be detected in order to have an incentive to comply with the FLSA. In practice, the probability of detection many firms can expect to face is likely much lower than this. In the case of the NLRA, a firm that fires a worker illegally is required to reinstate the worker with back pay if the violation is detected. Based on empirical estimates of the effect of unionization on firm profits, a typical firm may have an incentive to fire a worker illegally for union activities if this illegal firing would reduce the likelihood of unionization at the firm by as little as 0.15-2 percent. These analyses illustrate that neither the FLSA nor the NLRA penalty and enforcement regimes create sufficient incentive to comply for many firms. In this context, the substantial evidence of minimum wage and overtime violations, and of illegal employer behavior toward unions, is not surprising.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Regulation, Economy
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Enrique Alaniz, T. H. Gindling, Catherine Mata, Diego Rojas
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Informal work is often considered a place of employment for marginalized and vulnerable workers who have been rationed out of preferred formal work. However, informality can also be seen as a dynamic sector that budding entrepreneurs and those looking for flexible working conditions enter voluntarily. We use the methodology developed in Günther and Launov (2012) to test for the voluntary and involuntary nature of informal work in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, without making ad hoc assumptions about labour market segmentation and self-selection. We find evidence of heterogeneous informality in both Nicaragua and Costa Rica, with one informal sub-segment where most workers are voluntarily informal and another informal sub-segment where most workers are involuntarily informal. In Nicaragua, our results suggest that 44 per cent of wage employees are involuntarily informal, while 30 per cent of self-employed workers are involuntarily informal. In Costa Rica, our results suggest that 10 per cent of wage employees are involuntarily informal, and that 66 per cent of the self-employed are involuntarily informal.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Developing World, Informal Economy, Workforce
  • Political Geography: Central America, Nicaragua, Costa Rica
  • Author: Paolo Falco, Francesca Gioia, Neda Trifković
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The quality of people’s jobs is a fundamental determinant of their well-being, and judging the state of a labour market on the basis of job quantity alone delivers a very partial picture. This study is an attempt to place the spotlight on the working conditions of workers in the Myanmar manufacturing sector. Using a model of job demands and job resources, we focus on the balance between different stress factors and the support workers get. We find that a large fraction of workers face severe pressures. In particular, nearly one half faces severe time pressure; nearly a quarter is exposed to health hazards, such as loud noises, carrying heavy loads, and operating in uncomfortable or painful positions. These factors are often not met with adequate support from the firm. Male workers and those with lower levels of education are most exposed to occupational risks. Contrary to the narrative that a trade-off might exist between firm competitiveness and job quality, we find that labour productivity is higher in firms where working conditions are better.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Employment, Manufacturing, Trade, Productivity
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Chunbing Xing
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the evolution of China’s industrial and occupational structure in the last two decades and its impact on wage inequality. We find that non-routine cognitive and interpersonal tasks have increased, while routine cognitive tasks first increased and then declined. Occupation structural change is accompanying rising wage inequality. The wage premium for educated workers rose sharply in the 1990s and remained high thereafter. Occupations with high routine task intensity are associated with lower wages. While the return to education has become the largest contributor to wage inequality, routine task intensities have yet to play a significant role.
  • Topic: Education, Labor Issues, Employment, Inequality, Work Culture
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Artem Kochnev
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: The paper investigates determinants of investments in state capacity and institutional change in contemporary Ukraine. After formulating a simple sequential two-stage model of investments in state capacity, the paper estimates autoregressive distributed lag and vector autoregressive models to verify its predictions. The paper finds little evidence for the impact of conflict intensity and access to international credit on the pace of reform progress. It finds a statistically significant effect for the intensity of political competition and changes of real wages, albeit these results are sensitive to robustness checks.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, War, Labor Issues, Credit, International Business, State Capitalism, Models
  • Political Geography: Ukraine
  • Author: Sandra Leitner
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: In view of the scarcity of reliable and detailed data on migration this paper develops the novel cohort approach, which allows us to deduce from annual Labour Force Surveys (LFS) the extent and skill composition of net migration. It is based on representative age cohorts who are followed over time and whose change in size and composition provides information about the extent and skill composition of net migration. As concerns skill composition, the analysis differentiates between four educational levels (Low, Medium-general, Medium-VET and High). The analysis is applied to the six Western Balkan countries (for the period 2010-2019), which lack official, comprehensive and domestic migration statistics, particularly in terms of the skill composition of migrants. The analysis shows that during the period analysed all six Western Balkan countries experienced net emigration which, however, differs across countries in terms of magnitude and particular age pattern. A further breakdown of net migration by highest level of education shows that net emigration in the region mainly occurs among the medium- and low-educated. Contrary to widespread perception, the analysis finds evidence of brain gain in terms of partly substantial net immigration of the highly educated in all countries except Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. Brain gain is highest among those in their early to mid-20s to early 30s. As this is the age at which students usually complete tertiary education, this is likely to be related to students returning to their home countries after graduating from tertiary education abroad.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Migration, Labor Issues, Skilled Labor
  • Political Geography: Balkans
  • Author: Michael Landesmann, Isilda Mara
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: The South-North migration corridor, i.e. migration flows to the EU from Africa, the Middle East and EU neighbouring countries in the East, have overtaken the East-West migration corridor, i.e. migration flows from Central and East European countries to the EU15 and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). This is likely to dominate migration flows into the EU+EFTA over the coming decades. This paper applies a gravity modelling approach to analyse patterns and drivers of the South-North migration corridor over the period 1995-2020 and explores bilateral mobility patterns from 75 sending countries in Africa, the Middle East and other EU neighbours to the EU28 and EFTA countries. The study finds that income gaps, diverging demographic trends, institutional and governance features and persisting political instability, but also higher climate risks in the neighbouring regions of the EU, are fuelling migration flows along the South-North corridor and will most likely continue to do so.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Migration, Labor Issues, European Union, Human Capital, Labor Market
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Maryna Tverdostup
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has highly asymmetric effects on labour market outcomes of men and women. In this paper, we empirically investigate the dynamics and drivers of gender gaps in employment rates, wages and workhours during the pandemic. Relying on Estonian Labour Force Survey data, we document that the pandemic has, if anything, reduced gender inequality in all three domains. Our results suggest that, while the evolution of inequalities mirrored the infection rate development – rising as infections mounted and declining as the first wave flattened – overall, the pandemic did not exacerbate gender gaps in 2020. The cyclical increases in gender disparities were largely driven by parenthood, as child-rearing women experienced a major decline in their employment rate and workhours, as well as gender segregation in the most affected industries. The higher propensity to work from home and better educational attainments of women deterred gender wage gap expansion, as wage returns to telework and education rose during the pandemic. Our results suggest no systematic expansion of gender gaps, but rather short-term fluctuations. However, labour market penalties for women with young children and women employed in those industries most affected by COVID-19 may last longer than the pandemic, threatening to widen gender inequality in the long run.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Labor Issues, Employment, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Gary King, Melissa Sands
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Universities require faculty and students planning research involving human subjects to pass formal certification tests and then submit research plans for prior approval. Those who diligently take the tests may better understand certain important legal requirements but, at the same time, are often misled into thinking they can apply these rules to their own work which, in fact, they are not permitted to do. They will also be missing many other legal requirements not mentioned in their training but which govern their behaviors. Finally, the training leaves them likely to completely misunderstand the essentially political situation they find themselves in. The resulting risks to their universities, collaborators, and careers may be catastrophic, in addition to contributing to the more common ordinary frustrations of researchers with the system. To avoid these problems, faculty and students conducting research about and for the public need to understand that they are public figures, to whom different rules apply, ones that political scientists have long studied. University administrators (and faculty in their part­time roles as administrators) need to reorient their perspectives as well. University research compliance bureaucracies have grown, in well­meaning but sometimes unproductive ways that are not required by federal laws or guidelines. We offer advice to faculty and students for how to deal with the system as it exists now, and suggestions for changes in university research compliance bureaucracies, that should benefit faculty, students, staff, university budgets, and our research subjects.
  • Topic: Education, Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Bureaucracy, Academia
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sourabh Paul, Diti Goswami
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: The authors examine the impact of labour law deregulations in the Indian state of Rajasthan on plant employment and performance. In 2014, after a long time, Rajasthan was the first Indian state that introduced labour reforms in the Industrial Disputes Act (1947), the Factories Act (1948), the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act (1970), and the Apprentices Act (1961). Exploiting this unique quasi-natural experiment, the authors apply a difference-in-difference framework using the Annual Survey of Industries longitudinal data of India’s manufacturing establishments. Their results show that reforms had an unintended consequence of the decline in labour use. Also, worryingly, the flexibility resulted in a disproportionate decline in the directly employed worker. Evidence suggests that the reforms positively impact the value-added and productivity of the establishments. The strength of these effects varies depending on the underlying industry and reform structure. These findings prove robust to a set of specifications.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Reform, Employment, Regulation
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Rajendran Narayanan, Sakina Dhorajiwala, Chakradhar Buddha
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) provides up to 100 days of work in a year for every rural household at a minimum wage. The Act has several landmark worker-centric provisions. For the implementation of MGNREGA, for the first time in the country, a transaction-based Management Information System (MIS) has been made available in the public domain; a feather in the cap of transparency. However, there are several critical questions to be examined in this regard. Our main focus in this article is to explore the tensions between technocracy and democratic values/participation in the context of MGNREGA and its associated MIS. We use our action research on information-based interventions in several states to examine whether the MGNREGA MIS incorporates democratic values, whether it has been inclusive or if it has widened the existing inequities. We use specific examples to illustrate how such an information system has been used to subvert the legal rights of workers. We underscore that technological interventions, with a compassionate human-centred design are potentially powerful tools for transparency, accountability, and grievance redressal. However, technology alone can neither enhance participatory democracy nor reduce socio-economic inequalities.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Democracy, Employment, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Rosa Abraham, Amit Basole, Surbhi Kesar
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: Using the CMIE’s Consumer Pyramids Household Survey, we track a panel of households prior to the lockdown (in December 2019), during the lockdown (in April 2020) and afterwards (in August 2020) to investigate the employment and income effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and its associated containment measures. We identify four distinct employment experiences during the pandemic for those who were in the workforce just prior to the lockdown: no loss of employment (“No effect”), loss of employment followed by recovery (“Recovery”), loss of employment with no recovery (“No recovery”), and a delayed loss of employment (“Delayed job loss”). Overall, 54% of individuals experienced no job loss, while 30% lost work in April but recovered by August. 12% had not recovered employment as of August 2020. We analyse how these trajectories vary across different social and economic characteristics to quantify contractions and recovery in the labour market and the extent to which the vulnerabilities vary across different social groups, employment arrangements, and industries. We find that women were substantially more likely to lose employment as well as less likely to recover employment. Job loss was also more severe for lower castes as compared to intermediate and upper castes and for daily wage workers as compared to regular wage workers. Younger workers were particularly vulnerable to job loss compared to older workers. Having lost employment in April, younger workers were also less likely to recover employment in August. Finally, for those who were employed in both December 2019 and August 2020, we examine the changes in employment arrangements. We find a much greater frequency of transitions from wage employment to self-employment, more than that in the seasonally comparable period last year (Dec 2018 to Aug 2019). Our results call for urgent additional fiscal measures to counteract these effects.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Employment, Unemployment, Pandemic, Job Creation, Consumerism
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Zico Dasgupta
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: One of the central concerns against increasing expenditures in the recent period has been the possibility of an adverse impact on debt-GDP ratio. Once stability of debt-ratio is regarded as a policy-objective, the aggregate expenditure that is consistent with the stability condition gets determined by the given level of output growth rate and revenue receipts. Instead of perceiving expenditures to be determined by the debt-stability condition, this short note attempts to lay bare the conditions under which the debt-stability condition is restored despite increasing the growth rate of non-capital primary expenditure to a targeted level. The targeted level of growth rate of non-capital expenditures can be perceived to be one which compensates for the income loss of labour during the pandemic. In contrast to conventional wisdom, the possibility of increasing such expenditures is explored not by reducing capital expenditures, but rather by increasing the latter. Using the multiplier value of capital expenditures estimated by the RBI, it is argued that the debt-ratio would remain unchanged despite increasing the growth rate of non capital primary expenditure if the capital expenditures growth rate is allowed to increase in a specific proportion.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Political Economy, Labor Issues, GDP, Employment, Fiscal Policy
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Santosh Mehrotra
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: This paper briefly examines the performance of each of the five pillars of India’s TVET ecosystem. It also discusses the poor design and implementation of a national vocational qualification framework. It goes to discuss the latest development in the field of education: the National Education Policy 2020 and its view on TVET, and finds it seriously wanting. The paper argues that if India does not want its tertiary education system to be overwhelmed by the massification of school education that occurred since early noughties, it must divert increasing numbers of secondary graduates to vocational education and training. Together with a rising number of jobs in the non-agricultural sector, to which India’s youth aspire to, strengthening vocational education offers the prospect of India potentially realizing its demographic dividend, in the same way that many East Asian countries. If India’s TVET system continues to lack vision, strategy and coherence to underpin the country’s aspiration to become a high human development country, we risk frittering away our dividend.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Labor Issues, Employment, Training, Vocational Training
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Purna Chandra Parida, Yogesh Suri
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: This paper makes an attempt to do an assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on employment and migration in India. The analysis is based on up-to-date facts and figures available in the public domain on economic growth, employment and migration. Using the employment elasticity approach, the study estimates employment loss during 2020-21 owing to the negative impact of COVID-19 on economic activities. The results of the study suggest that the country may witness job loss with the tune of 18.5  18.8 million in the current fiscal year. This in turn would shoot up the unemployment rate from 5.8% in 2018-19 to 8.9% in 2020-21, warranting a coordinated and focused approach from both the Central and State governments to uplift the confidence of the people and bring back the lost jobs, particularly the migrant workers. The study also emphasises on Central government’s urgent attention and action plan for uplifting the rural economy in order to revive India’s economy in the short run.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Labor Issues, Employment, Economic Growth, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Jenny Sulfath, Balu Sunilraj
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: This paper attempts to look at the ways informality is conceptualized in India and argues that the problems with the laws pertaining to informal labour are not simply an implementation issue, but the design of the labour laws itself exclude informal labour. While reviewing the history of labour laws in India and the social history of labour participation, the paper also examines the current change in the political approach to labour by changing the labour laws in the pretext of the pandemic. Focussing on the changes made in labour laws in Madhya Pradesh the paper argues that these changes would further informalise the workers intensifying the crisis.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Employment, Informal Economy
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Rosa Abraham, Amit Basole, Surbhi Kesar
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic has created unprecedented disruptions in labour markets across the world including loss of employment and decline in incomes. Using panel data from India, we investigate the differential impact of the shock on labour market outcomes for male and female workers. We find that, conditional on being in the workforce prior to the pandemic, women were seven times more likely to lose work during the nationwide lockdown, and conditional on losing work, eleven times more likely to not return to work subsequently, compared to men. Using logit regressions on a sample stratified by gender, we find that daily wage and young workers, whether men or women, were more likely to face job loss. Education shielded male workers from job loss, whereas highly educated female workers were more vulnerable to job loss. Marriage had contrasting effects for men and women, with married women less likely to return to work and married men more likely to return to work. Religion and gender intersect to exacerbate the disproportionate impact, with Muslim women more likely to not return to work, unlike Muslim men where we find religion having no significant impact. Finally, for those workers who did return to work, we find that a large share of men in the workforce moved to self-employment or daily wage work, in agriculture, trade or construction. For women, on the other hand, there is limited movement into alternate employment arrangements or industries. This suggests that typical ‘fallback’ options for employment do not exist for women. During such a shock, women are forced to exit the workforce whereas men negotiate across industries and employment arrangements.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Labor Issues, Women, Employment, Labor Market
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Rahul Menon, Paaritosh Nath
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: Using two rounds of the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) covering the periods 2017-18 and 2018-19, we construct a panel of urban Indian individuals aged 15 to 65, and analyse the dynamics of their participation – or non-participation – in the labour force. We construct transition probabilities to study the movement of individuals through three distinct statuses – employment, unemployment and non-participation – at the aggregate level and for different demographic groups. We find evidence of considerable movements from the labour force to non-participation; there exists a significant discouraged worker effect as well as a pronounced movement from employment outside the labour force, specifically for women. A majority of those unemployed in the beginning of the year remain so at the end of the year, indicating the presence of long-term unemployment. The reduction in unemployment rates from 2017-18 to 2018-19 hides significant weaknesses in Indian urban labour markets. This study represents an original contribution to the field of Indian labour economics, given the paucity of large-scale studies of the dynamics of Indian labour.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Labor Issues, Employment, Labor Market, Workforce
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Anna Liz Thomas, Jarrod Suda, Gaia Grasselli
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: Since the 1990s, more free trade agreements have come to include social clauses, which make reference to domestic and international labour standards. As this international legal web continues to grow, so too will the questions and concerns from employers and businesses. This Tradelab report, for the International Organisation of Employers, provides practical guidance for those employers and businesses. It does so by taking the diverse array of actors, the tensions within, and the opportunities set forth by free trade agreements and elaborating upon them using three case studies.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Labor Issues, Free Trade, Trade, International Business, Labor Market
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Klaas de Vries, Abdul Erumban, Bart van Ark
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: This paper analyses quarterly estimates of productivity growth at industry level for three advanced economies, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, for 2020. We use detailed industry-level data to distinguish reallocations of working hours between industries from pure within-industry productivity gains or losses. We find that all three countries showed positive growth rates of aggregate output per hour in 2020 over 2019. However, after removing the effects from the reallocation of hours between low and high productivity industries, only the US still performed positively in terms of withinindustry productivity growth. In contrast, the two European economies showed negative within-industry productivity growth rates in 2020. While above-average digital-intensive industries outperformed belowaverage ones in both France and the UK, the US showed higher productivity growth in both groups compared to the European countries. Industries with medium-intensive levels of shares of employees working from home prior to the pandemic made larger productivity gains in 2020 than industries with the highest pre-pandemic work-from-home shares. The paper also experiments with US data on employment at county level by allocating within-industry productivity contributions for 2020 to urban, sub-urban and rural areas, showing that the contributions to within-industry productivity growth from manufacturing and other production industries in urban and sub-urban areas increased during the pandemic. Overall, after taking into account the productivity collapse in the hospitality and culture sector during 2020, productivity growth shows no clear deviation from the slowing pre-pandemic productivity trend. Future trends in productivity growth will depend on whether the favourable productivity gains (or smaller losses) in industries with above-average digital intensity will outweigh negative effects from the pandemic, in particular scarring effects on labour markets and business dynamics.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Work Culture, Pandemic, COVID-19, Productivity, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, France, United States of America
  • Author: Sara Stevano, Rosimina Ali, Merle Jamieson
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: School of Oriental and African Studies - University of London
  • Abstract: COVID-19 has shaken a foundational pillar of global capitalism: the organisation of work. Whilst workers have commonly been categorised based on skills, during the pandemic the ‘essential worker’ categorisation has taken prominence. This paper explores the concept of essential work from a global feminist social reproduction perspective. The global perspective is complemented by a zoom-in on Mozambique as a low-income country in the Global South, occupying a peripheral position in global and regional economies and with a large share of vulnerable and essential workers. We show that the meaning of essential work is more ambiguous and politicised than it may appear and, although it can be used as a basis to reclaim the value of socially reproductive work, its transformative potential hinges on the possibility to encompass the most precarious and transnational dimensions of (re)production.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Feminism, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mozambique, Global South
  • Author: Askar Mukashov, Christian Henning
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: With increasing evidence that rural households in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) opt for deagrarianization as an adaptation strategy to climate change, it is becoming important to understand the role of Global Climate Change (GCC) in ongoing structural transformation processes in these countries. We use Senegal as a case study country and analyze how various GCC scenarios affect the country's economic sectors, households' welfare, and structural transformation patterns. Our simulation results suggest that GCC can increase the country's deagrarianization pace, with industrial and service sectors in the capital Dakar being the most important destinations of the former agricultural labor force. Although unplanned urbanization smoothes the overall negative impact of GCC and decreases spatial income disparities, uncontrolled deagrarianization is also associated with negative externalities. Previous growth-focused studies suggest that services partaking in Senegal’s deagrarianization can hamper its long-term growth prospects, and our results suggest that productivity increase of services can redirect part of the former agricultural labor force towards industrial sectors.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Economics, Environment, Labor Issues, Income Inequality, Rural, Housing
  • Political Geography: Africa, Senegal
  • Author: Claudia Fontanari, Antonella Palumbo, Chiara Salvatori
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: This paper extends to different indicators of labor underutilization the Updated Okun Method (UOM) for estimation of potential output proposed in Fontanari et al (2020), which, from a demand-led growth perspective, regards potential output as an empirical approximation to fullemployment output, as in A.M.Okun’s (1962) original method. Based on the apparent incapability of the official rate of unemployment to fully account for labor underutilization, in this paper we offer estimates of Okun’s law both with broad unemployment indicators and with an indicator of ‘standardized hours worked’ which we propose as a novel measure of the labor input. The paper reflects on the possible different empirical measures of full employment. The various measures of potential output that we extract from our analysis show greater output gaps than those produced by standard methods, thus highlighting a systematic tendency of the latter to underestimate potential output. Output gaps that underestimate the size of the output loss or that tend to close too soon during recovery, may produce a bias towards untimely restriction.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Economic Growth, Demand, Unemployment
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lance Taylor, Nelson H. Barbosa-Filho
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: Recognizing that inflation of the value of output and its costs of production must be equal, we focus on a cost-based macroeconomic structuralist approach in contrast to micro-oriented monetarist analysis. For decades the import and profit shares of cost have risen, while the wage share has declined to around 50% with money wage increases lagging the sum of growth rates of prices and productivity. Conflicting claims to income are the underlying source of inflationary pressure. Inflation affects income (labor’s spending power) and wealth. Monetarist theory around 1900 concentrated on the latter (Bryan and the “Cross of Gold)” leading to the standard Laffer curve. It was replaced by the Friedman-Phelps model which has incorrect dynamics (labor payments do not fall during an expansion – they go up). Samuelson and Solow introduced a version of the Phillips curve that violates macroeconomic accounting. Rational expectations replaced Friedman but was immediately falsified by output drops after the Volcker shock treatment around 1980. There followed a complicated transition from rational expectations to inflation targeting, anchored by economists’ misunderstanding of the physical meaning of ergodicity and ontological blindness. It did not help that the real balance effect is irrelevant because money makes up a small part of wealth. Rather than issuing veiled threats of disaster if its policy advice is not followed, the Fed now announces inflation targets which it cannot meet. Contemporary structuralist theory suggests that conflicting income claims set the inflation rate. Firms can mark up costs but workers have latent bargaining power over the labor share that they can exercise. Import costs and policy repercussions complicate the picture, but a simple vector error correction model and visual analysis suggest that money wages would have to grow one percentage point faster than prices plus productivity for several years if the Fed is to meet a three percent inflation target. The results pose a Biden policy trilemma: (i) the only path toward a more egalitarian size distribution of income is through a rising labor share (money wage growth exceeds price plus productivity growth), (ii) which would provoke faster inflation with feedback to rising interest rates, and (iii) the resulting asset price deflation likely facing political resistance from Wall Street and affluent households.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Inflation, Imports, Structuralism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Tesseltje de Lange, Kees Groenendijk
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: The European Commission and EU member states must increase intra-EU mobility opportunities for already lawfully present third-country nationals (TCNs). A considerable workforce of TCNs is waiting to work across EU borders in the same way as EU citizens; their waiting is not conducive to making the EU legal migration acquis patchwork work. In its proposal on the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, the European Commission has set out to do just that. If it wants to succeed and address Europe’s demographic trends and the foreseeable shortages in the continent’s national labour markets, a strong focus on enhancing the intra-EU mobility of TCNs already present in the EU is imperative. This Issue Paper presents five key recommendations that would improve the patchwork of the legal migration acquis. Harmonise existing rules. Full harmonisation of the legal migration acquis is not the immediate aim of EU member states but could become the objective in the long run. In the meantime, the Commission can take action to lift uncertainties over the meaning and subsequent implementation of the patchwork acquis. More legal certainty can only be experienced if the labour migration directives are used and litigated. Redesign the Single Permit Directive to deal with all procedures. The Single Permit Directive should, as a general directive on procedures, expand its subject matter to include all procedures on visas for entry and procedures on renewal and status switching. This could enable quick access to the Long-Term Resident status and intra-EU mobility. Engage third parties in the enforcement of equal treatment rights. The enforcement of the Single Permit Directive can be improved by first shifting the burden of proof of unequal treatment from the single permit holder to the employer. Second, third parties (e.g. work councils, NGOs) should be granted legal standing to engage in proceedings before national courts on behalf of or in support of single permit holders. In general terms, labour rights protection should be a priority of the highest degree. Design a ‘Light Blue Card’ for medium-skilled labour. To facilitate migration for medium-skilled jobs, rather than expand the scope of the Single Permit Directive, we suggest adding an optional or add-on, ‘light blue’ alternative for medium-skilled or -qualified labour (e.g. care work) to the recast Blue Card Directive. Facilitate the intra-EU mobility of third-country nationals. Rather than allow employers to use intra-EU posting to hire ‘cheap’ TCN workers in substandard conditions in low- and medium-skilled jobs, TCNs already lawfully present in the Union should get priority to access the EU labour market.
  • Topic: Migration, Labor Issues, Immigration, European Union, Diversity, European Commission
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Gianluca Orefice, Hillel Rapoport, Gianluca Santoni
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: How does immigration affect export performance? To answer this question, we propose a unified empirical framework allowing to disentangle various mechanisms put forth in previous literature. These include the role of networks in reducing bilateral transaction costs as well as productivity shifts arising from migration-induced knowledge diffusion and increased workforce diversity. While we find evidence supporting all three channels (at both the intensive and the extensive margins of trade), our framework allows to gauge their relative importance. We then focus on diversity and find stronger results in sectors characterized by more complex production processes and more intense teamwork cooperation. This is consistent with theories linking the distribution of skills to the comparative advantage of nations. The results are robust to using a theoretically grounded IV approach combining three variations on the shift share methodology.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Immigration, Immigrants, Diversity, Trade
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Enzo Dia, Jacques Melitz
  • Publication Date: 11-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: We show that the heavy use of legal services relative to output in the US is not a peculiarity of the country but applies to common law countries in general. It stems largely from better ability to contract and easier access to justice. Yet in close association, common law also opens significantly more room for rentseeking by lawyers than civil law. Thereby the costs could outweigh the benefits. Both real GDP per capita and openness emerge as further factors making room for lawyers.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Law, Labor Issues, Law
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Karen Eggleston, Yong Suk Lee, Toshiaki Lizuka
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: In one of the first studies of service sector robotics using establishment-level data, we study the relationship between robots and staffing in Japanese nursing homes. We utilize variation in robot subsidies across prefectures as an instrumental variable to explore the impact of robot adoption on nursing homes’ staffing decisions. We find that robot adoption appears to decrease difficulty in staff retention and to increase employment by augmenting the number of care workers and nurses on flexible employment contracts. Robot adoption is negatively correlated with the monthly wages of regular nurses, consistent with reduced burden of care such as fewer night shifts. Our findings suggest that robots may not be detrimental to labor and may help to remedy challenges posed by rapidly aging populations.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Services, Innovation, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Emerging Technology, Labor Cost
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Shamindra Nath Roy, Partha Mukhopadhyay
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: India is one of the lowest globally in terms of female labour force participation (FLFP), ranking only better than Pakistan in South Asia. While the decline in FLFP in rural areas is starkly visible, the urban FLFP has been consistently low since the 1980s despite higher economic growth and increasing level of education among females. The economic cost of such low FLFP (16.8%) is huge and if, for instance, it could be raised to the level of FLFP in China (61.5%), it has the potential to raise India’s GDP up to 27%. This paper attempts to investigate the structural deficiencies behind this consistently low urban FLFP through a variety of perspectives, ranging from measuring the complexity of women’s work to the implications of caste, location and family structure. It finds factors like presence of female-friendly industries, provision of regular salaried jobs and policies that cater to women’s needs to work near home like availability of part-time work, can improve the situation, though prejudices arising from patriarchy require to be addressed to make these measures truly transformative and not palliative.
  • Topic: Education, Gender Issues, Labor Issues, Women, Inequality, Economy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Marie Hyland, Simeon Djankov, Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper provides the first global look at how gender discrimination by the law affects women’s economic opportunity and charts the evolution of legal inequalities over five decades. Using the World Bank’s newly constructed Women, Business and the Law database, it documents large and persistent gender inequalities, especially with regard to pay and treatment of parenthood. The paper finds positive correlations between more equal laws pertaining to women in the workforce and more equal labor market outcomes, such as higher female labor force participation and a smaller wage gap between men and women.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Labor Issues, Women, Inequality, Economic Inequality
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jorge Ignacio Del Castillo Machicado
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Advanced Development Studies (INESAD)
  • Abstract: This article researches on the evolution of the business regulatory framework of Bolivia from 2006 to 2017 and its relationship with the country’s Labor productivity, Total Factor Productivity, and its Informal Economy size. To do this, it analyzes the Doing Business annual reports and standardizes each year overall score to the most recent methodology developed by the World Bank Group. Furthermore, it complements its finding with qualitative data through semi-structured interviews to key actors in the Bolivian economy. Overall, this paper finds that few steps have been taken to improve Bolivia’s Business regulatory framework from the period of 2006-2017, result in a lower rank in the Doing Business report and keeping its score constant. The lack of initiative in working towards more efficient policies, complex nature and poor adaptability of new technological practices have stagnated the improvements of business regulations along their lifecycles. As a consequence, Bolivia Total Factor Productivity, Informal Economy size and Labor productivity have shown no improvement over the last 10 years.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Labor Issues, World Bank, Regulation, Business
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Bolivia
  • Author: Philipp Heimberger
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: Despite extensive research efforts, the magnitude of the effect of employment protection legislation (EPL) on unemployment remains unclear. Existing econometric estimates exhibit substantial variation, and it is therefore difficult to draw valid conclusions. This paper applies meta-analysis and meta-regression methods to a unique data set consisting of 881 observations on the effect of EPL on unemployment from 75 studies. Once we control for publication selection bias, we cannot reject the hypothesis that the average effect of EPL on unemployment is zero. The meta-regression analysis, which investigates sources of heterogeneity in the reported effect sizes, reveals the following main results. First, the choice of the EPL variable matters: estimates that build on survey-based EPL variables report a significantly stronger unemployment-increasing impact of EPL than estimates developed using EPL indices based on the OECD’s methodology, where the latter relies on coding information from legal provisions. Second, we find that employment protection has a small unemployment-increasing effect on female unemployment, compared with a zero impact on total unemployment. Third, using multi-year averages of the underlying data tends to dampen the unemployment effects of EPL. Fourth, product market regulation is found to moderate the effect of EPL on unemployment.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, European Union, Employment, Unemployment, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Stefan Jestl, Emanuel List
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: This paper constructs distributional national accounts for Austria for the period 2004-2016. We enrich survey data with tabulated tax data and make it fully consistent with national accounts data. The comprehensive dataset allows us to analyse the distribution of macroeconomic growth across the income distribution and to explore the evolution of income inequality in pre-tax income over time. Our results suggest that the distribution of growth has changed over time, which had considerable repercussions on inequality. Inequality started to decline at the very beginning of the economic and financial crisis in 2007, however it has increased again after 2012. We further provide novel insights into the evolution of capital income for top income groups and explore redistribution mechanisms that operated in Austria. Government spending was found to play a key role for redistributive effects across the income distribution. In particular, the transfer system redistributes pre-tax income to a large extent.
  • Topic: Migration, Labor Issues, Economic Inequality
  • Political Geography: Europe, Austria
  • Author: Michael Landesmann, Sandra Leitner
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: This paper estimates conditional demand models and, using a joint approach for the period 2008-2017, examines the impact of immigration and different measures of offshoring on the labour demand and demand elasticities of native workers in four different types of occupational groups: managers/professionals, clerical workers, craft (skilled) workers and manual workers. The analysis is conducted using data for four EU economies: Austria, Belgium, France and Spain. Our results point to important and occupation-specific direct and indirect effects of immigration and offshoring. Both offshoring – particularly services offshoring – and immigration have negative direct employment effects on all occupations, but native clerks and manual workers are affected the most, and native managers/professionals the least. Generally, offshoring exerts a stronger direct negative employment effect than does immigration. Our results also identify an important (labour demand) elasticity-channel of immigration and offshoring and show that some groups of native workers can also actually gain from globalisation through an improvement in their wage-bargaining position. Overall, our results indicate a deterioration in the bargaining power of native manual workers arising from both immigration and offshoring; an improvement in the bargaining position of native craft workers in the case of both immigration and offshoring; and an improvement in the bargaining position of native clerical workers and managers/professionals in the case of offshoring only. Finally, our analysis of the cross-effects of immigration highlights the important role of migrant managers/professionals for the labour demand and demand elasticities (bargaining power) of native clerical workers, craft and manual workers.
  • Topic: Globalization, Labor Issues, Immigration, Employment, Work Culture
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, Belgium, Spain, Austria
  • Author: Rudolf Furst
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The Euro-Japanese rapprochement stimulates the Japanese interest in the new EU member states, which are then matched with Japanese investments and Japan’s global trade strategy. The V4 countries benefit from their geographical position, existing infrastructure and political stability, industrial tradition, and low labour costs, emphasizes Rudolf Fürst.
  • Topic: Economics, Bilateral Relations, Labor Issues, European Union, Political stability, Industry
  • Political Geography: Japan, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Surbhi Kesar, Rosa Abraham, Rahul Lahoti, Paaritosh Nath, Amit Basole
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: We analyze findings from a large-scale survey of around 5000 respondents across 12 states of India to study the impact of COVID-19 pandemic containment measures (lockdown) on employment, livelihoods, food security and access to relief measures. We find a massive increase in unemployment, an equally dramatic fall in earnings among informal workers, large increases in food insecurity, depletion of savings and patchy coverage of relief measures. Two-thirds of our respondents lost work. The few informal workers who were still employed during the lockdown experienced more than a fifty percent drop in their earnings. Even among regular wage workers, half received either no salary or reduced salary during the lockdown. Almost eighty percent of surveyed households experienced a reduction in their food intake and a similar percentage of urban households did not have enough money to pay next month's rent. We also use a set of logistic regressions to identify how employment loss and food intake varies with individual and householdlevel characteristics. We find that migrants and urban Muslims are significantly worse off with respect to employment and food security. Among employment categories, self-employed workers were more food secure. The Public Distribution System (PDS) system was seen to have the widest reach among social security measures. However, even under PDS, 16 percent of vulnerable urban households did not have access to government rations. Further, half of the respondents reported not receiving any cash transfers (state or central). We conclude that much more is needed in the way of direct fiscal support that has been announced thus far by state and central governments in India.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Employment, Unemployment, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Sybrand Brekelmans, Georgios Petropoulos
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: From 2002 up to 2009, the economies of European Union countries went through a skill upgrading, rather than a polarisation between low-skill and high-skill jobs. After 2009, this changed, with declining real wages and a significant increase in the share of workers in low-skill jobs. This assessment evaluates these changes in connection with labour market variables, population densities and the emergence of machine learning and artificial intelligence.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, European Union, Economy, Innovation, Artificial Intelligence, Strategic Competition, Geography
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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: Upalat Korwatanasakul, Youngmin Baek
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This study assesses the links between global value chain (GVC) participation and the labour market to examine the relatively unexplored employment-related distribution effects of GVC integration. Based on the Mincer wage model, we examine the relationship between GVC participation and worker productivity and wages at the individual level. Our main estimation method is a simple ordinary least squares estimation using pooled cross-sectional data from the Thai Labour Force Survey for the period 1995–2011. We also separately examine the effects of forward and backward GVC participation on wages and wage distributions. Our results show that GVC participation induces higher monthly wages for individuals and increases productivity in the labour market through either the forward linkage or backward linkage. We even find that GVC participation can help mitigate inequality. Our findings show that GVC participation promotes inclusive job creation and provides more job opportunities for rural, female, and low-skilled workers. Policies to support leveraging the existing strong industries through upgrading, smoothing labour movements while improving agricultural productivity, and preparing to move towards a services economy can help prepare Thailand, and other developing countries in general, to upgrade to higher value chains. Although GVC participation may be a catalyst for higher wages, greater labour productivity, and more inclusive job creation, its employment effects are complicated. An unbalanced policy framework might contribute to uneven income distributions and exclusive job creation as participating in GVCs through different linkages can benefit different stakeholders in varying ways. Therefore, a policy framework that balances the benefits among stakeholders in terms of wage distributions and job inclusion is ideal.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Work Culture, Global Value Chains, Labor Market
  • Political Geography: Asia, Thailand
  • 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: Yuxiang Yang, Hongyong Zhang
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: The tax incentives designed to stimulate firm investment may have a large impact on labour market outcomes. Using a comprehensive data set containing more than 1 million Chinese manufacturing firms during the period 2000–2013 with a difference-in-difference approach, we examine the impact of the value-added tax reform in 2004–2008 on the firm-level labour market outcomes. We find that firms in eligible industries and regions (treated firms) enjoying lower costs of purchasing fixed assets under the reform tended to increase capital investment and reduce employment relative to firms that did not have tax incentives (the control firms). Compared with the control firms, the treated firms became more capital intensive and had an increase in average wage but a decline in labour income share. We also provide evidence that the substitutions of labour input by capital input is associated with increases in firm productivity and the share of skilled workers, but not imported capital goods.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Reform, Tax Systems, Labor Market
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Pavel Chakraborthy, Prachi Gupta
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: Do incentives to innovate create demand for skilled workers more than proportionately? We study the question using the implementation of the Patent (Amendment) Act in India in 2002 to comply with the Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights agreement. We find, first, stronger intellectual property protection has a sharper impact on demand for skilled workers for high patentable industries. Demand for skilled workers increased by 0.5%–2.9% for industries that are more patentable. The average compensation for skilled workers went up by 10% in high patentable industries but decreased for unskilled workers by about 2%. Second, the increase in wage inequality can partly be attributed to the increase in wages rather than incentives. Third, the increase in demand for skilled workers is due to both the increase in intensive margin (or price) and extensive margin (number). Fourth, the aggregate effect is completely driven by industries producing intermediate goods and big plants. Finally, the reforms led to a significant reallocation of resources between industries. The high patentable industries invested more in technology adoption, started to produce more product varieties at higher quality, and filed for more product patent claims. Broadly, we demonstrate that stronger intellectual property protection leads to higher wage inequality between industries.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Intellectual Property/Copyright, Skilled Labor
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Claire Dhéret, Mihai Palimariciuc
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: Once deemed a pipe dream, a concrete plan for a European framework on minimum wages might finally be in the cards. The framework will have to be ambitious enough to deliver progress for low-wage workers, but also flexible enough to accommodate the very diverse wage-setting regimes present across the EU. On top of that, the Commission must deal with the opposition to EU interventions in determining wages, and convince sceptics of the economic, social and political benefits of having a European framework. The Commission should, therefore, strive for (i) the creation of an egalitarian wage structure that supports decent living standards; and (ii) building broad political consensus.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Reform, European Union, Minimum Wage
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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: Eliana Carranza, Robert Garlick, Kate Orkin, Neil Rankin
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper presents field experimental evidence that limited information about workseekers’ skills distorts both firm and workseeker behavior. Assessing workseekers’ skills, giving workseekers their assessment results, and helping them to credibly share the results with firms increases workseekers’ employment and earnings. It also aligns their beliefs and search strategies more closely with their skills. Giving assessment results only to workseekers has similar effects on beliefs and search, but smaller effects on employment and earnings. Giving assessment results only to firms increases callbacks. These patterns are consistent with two-sided information frictions, a new finding that can inform the design of information-provision mechanisms.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Employment, Business , Job Creation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ina Ganguli, Ricardo Hausmann, Martina Viarengo
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: We examine gender gaps in career dynamics in the legal sector using rich panel data from one of the largest global law firms in the world. The law firm studied is representative of multinational law firms and operates in 23 countries. The sample includes countries at different stages of development. We document the cross-country variation in gender gaps and how these gaps have changed over time. We show that while there is gender parity at the entry level in most countries by the end of the period examined, there are persistent raw gender gaps at the top of the organization across all countries. We observe significant heterogeneity among countries in terms of gender gaps in promotions and wages, but the gaps that exist appear to be declining over the period studied. We also observe that women are more likely to report exiting the firm for family and work-life balance reasons, while men report leaving for career advancement. Finally, we show that various measures of national institutions and culture appear to play a role in the differential labor-market outcomes of men and women.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Labor Issues, Women, Employment, Inequality, Human Capital, Legal Sector
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Barbara Blaszczyk
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: Poland’s new Employee Capital Plans (PPK) scheme, which is mandatory for employers, started to be implemented in July 2019. The article looks at the systemic solutions applied in the programme from the perspective of the concept of the simultaneous reconstruction of the retirement pension system. The aim is to present arguments for and against the project from the point of view of various actors, and to assess the chances of success for the new system. The article offers a detailed study of legal solutions, an analysis of the literature on the subject, and reports of institutions that supervise pension funds. The results of this analysis point to the lack of cohesion between certain solutions of the 1999 pension reform and expose a lack of consistency in how the reform was carried out, which led to the eventual removal of the capital part of the pension system. The study shows that additional saving for old age is advisable in the country’s current demographic situation and necessary for both economic and social reasons. However, the systemic solutions offered by the government appear to be chiefly designated to serve short-term state interests and do not create sufficient incentives for pension plan participants to join the programme.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Employment, Social Policy, Capital
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Poland
  • Author: Santiago Garriga, Dario Tortarolo
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nottingham Interdisciplinary Centre for Economic and Political Research (NICEP)
  • Abstract: We explore how the way in which tax credits are disbursed affects employer’s behavior, wages, and employment. We exploit a change in the payment system in Argentina that was gradually rolled out between 2003 and 2010. Under the old system, employers were in charge of delivering family allowances to their employees together with the monthly salary, and the transfer was deducted from employer social security contributions. For transparency purposes, the government eliminated the intermediary role of firms and started depositing the transfer directly into workers’ bank accounts. Using employer-employee administrative data and an event-study approach, we show that the way tax credits are disbursed matters for the final economic incidence. Our evidence suggests that employers shift part of the incidence of the transfer by paying lower wages. We document larger wage effects in small and less unionized firms and we do not find evidence of pay equity concerns (e.g., effect mostly driven by new hires rather than incumbent workers). Our findings are therefore in line with the hypothesis that transfers are not all captured dollar for dollar by workers. These results raise questions about the use of employers as intermediaries to disburse the transfer; where less salient schemes may lead to capture by employers.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Employment, Work Culture, Economic Inequality
  • Political Geography: Argentina, Latin America
  • Author: Dario Tortarolo, Guillermo Cruces, Victoria Castillo
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nottingham Interdisciplinary Centre for Economic and Political Research (NICEP)
  • Abstract: We exploit a large, quasi-randomized, 2.5-year-long income tax holiday to identify intertemporal labor responses of high-wage earners to net wage changes. In August 2013, the Argentine government exempted a group of wage earners from the income tax for 2.5 years while leaving in place the tax on other high-wage earners. Eligibility was based on whether past wage earnings were below a fixed threshold, thus levying sharply different marginal and average tax rates—effectively 0% for workers below the threshold. Using rich population-wide administrative data and a regression discontinuity design, we estimate a precise and very small wage earnings elasticity of 0.017 for this large, salient, and temporary income tax change. Responses are larger for more flexible outcomes (overtime hours) and for more elastic groups (job switchers and managers). We also find avoidance responses from new entrants who faced no tax if their first monthly wage was below the fixed threshold. This strategic entry below the threshold to dodge taxes required coordination with employers. Our findings indicate rigidities in the labor market that require employer-employee cooperation to be overcome for wage earners to be able to respond to tax changes.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Income Inequality, Tax Systems
  • Political Geography: Argentina, Latin America
  • Author: Dario Tortarolo, Roman D. Zarate
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nottingham Interdisciplinary Centre for Economic and Political Research (NICEP)
  • Abstract: We disentangle the extent of imperfect competition in product and labor markets using plant level data. We derive a formula for the ratio between markups and markdowns assuming costminimizing firms that face upward-sloping labour supply and downward-sloping product demand curves. We then separate this combined measure of market power by estimating firm-level labour supply elasticities instrumenting wages with a different set of instruments: including the use of intermediate inputs, input price shocks, and TFP shocks. Our results suggest that both markets exhibit imperfect competition, but the variation is mainly driven by markups. We also estimate the relative gains of removing market power dispersion on allocative efficiency, finding that markups are more important on TFP than markdowns.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Finance, Labor Market, Supply Chains, Price
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Wolfgang Lechthaler, Mewael F. Tesfaselassie
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: We embed human capital-based endogenous growth into a New-Keynesian model with search and matching frictions in the labor market and skill obsolescence from long-term unemployment. The model can account for key features of the Great Recession: a decline in productivity growth, the relative stability of inflation despite a pronounced fall in output (the "missing disinflation puzzle"), and a permanent gap between output and the pre-crisis trend output. In the model, lower aggregate demand raises unemployment and the training costs associated with skill obsolescence. Lower employment hinders learning-by-doing, which slows down human capital accumulation, feeding back into even fewer vacancies than justified by the demand shock alone. These feedback channels mitigate the disinflationary effect of the demand shock while amplifying its contractionary effect on output. The temporary growth slowdown translates into output hysteresis (permanently lower output and labor productivity).
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Global Recession, Labor Issues, Economic Growth, Inflation, Keynes, Capital
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Andreas Backhaus
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: This paper assesses the potential for skilled labor migration from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe. It utilizes representative surveys from Ghana and Kenya to shed light on the quality and distribution of skills in the labor markets of these countries. Skills in both countries are found to be unevenly distributed, with significant parts of the labor force being essentially unskilled. Similarly designed surveys from France, Germany, and the UK further allow comparing skills and formal education between the African and the European countries. On average, the labor force in the sub-Saharan African countries is less skilled and less educated than the European labor force. Importantly, even at the same levels of formal education, workers in Ghana and Kenya are substantially less skilled than workers in Europe. The paper further considers a number of hypothetical scenarios for skilled labor migration from the African to the European countries. It is demonstrated that the European countries would have to recruit workers from the very top end of the African skill distribution to match European demands for skills. In turn, the average worker from the African labor markets would fit only into the low end of the European skill distribution where employment rates are low. Hence, more regular and skilled labor migration from African countries will unlikely be a remedy for skill shortages in Europe unless migrants are positively selected on their skills. In that case, however, additional opportunities for skilled labor migration would risk a brain drain from African countries that could harm economic development there. Improving the quality of education in sub-Saharan Africa on a broad scale remains indispensable for mutually beneficial migration between Africa and Europe.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Migration, Labor Issues, Migrant Workers, Skilled Labor
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Europe, Ghana, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Wolfgang Lechthaler, Patrick Ring
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: How the provision of unemployment benefits affects employment and unemployment is a debated issue. In this paper, we aim at complementing theoretical and empirical contributions to this debate with a laboratory experiment: We simulate a job market with search effort and labor force participation decisions while varying the maximum length of unemployment benefit eligibility. Our results reveal two separable, opposing effects: Individuals within the labor force search with lower effort when unemployment benefits are extended. However, individuals are more likely to participate in the labor force and to actively search for a job. Concerning employment, the second effect dominates so that unemployment benefits raise employment.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Markets, Labor Issues, Employment, Unemployment, Job Creation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Martin Ruhs
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Commission’s recently published “New Pact on Migration and Asylum” calls on EU member states to increase legal labour migration pathways, including for lower-skilled workers. To help achieve this goal, the Pact proposes greater and more effective cooperation with non-EU countries through so-called “Talent Partnerships”. These proposals are not new. The idea of partnerships with non-EU countries that include expanded labour migration programmes was at the heart of the EU’s “Global Approach to Migration” launched in 2005, and this approach has been further discussed and developed over the past 15 years. These ideas, however, have never led to a significant opening of European labour markets to lower-skilled non-EU workers. An obvious question therefore arises: Will this time be different? Will EU member states (which have primary competence in regulating labour immigration from outside the EU) engage with non-EU countries to develop new policies that expand legal labour migration opportunities in meaningful ways? Will these opportunities be inclusive of low- and medium-skilled workers?
  • Topic: Migration, Politics, Labor Issues, European Union, Institutions, Asylum
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Elizabeth Caucutt, Lance Lochner, Joseph Mullins, Youngmin Park
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP), Western University
  • Abstract: This paper studies the multidimensional nature of investments in children within a dynamic framework. In particular, we examine the roles of parental time investments, purchased home goods/services inputs, and market-based child care services. We first document strong increases in total investment expenditures by maternal education; yet expenditure shares, which skew heavily towards parental time, vary little with parental schooling. Second, we develop an intergenerational lifecycle model with multiple child investment inputs to study these patterns and the impacts of policies that alter the prices of different inputs. We analytically characterize investment behavior, focusing on the substitutability of different investment inputs and the way parental skills affect the productivity of family-based inputs. Third, we develop an estimation strategy that exploits intratemporal optimality conditions based on relative demand to estimate substitutability between inputs, the relative productivity of different inputs, and the role played by parental education. This approach requires no assumptions about the dynamics of skill investment, preferences, or credit markets. We also account for mismeasured inputs and wages, as well as unobserved heterogeneity in parenting skills. We further show how noisy measures of child achievement (measured several years apart) can also be incorporated in a generalized method of moments approach to additionally identify the dynamics of skill accumulation. Fourth, we use data from the Child Development Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to estimate the skill production technology for children ages 12 and younger. Our estimates suggest complementarity between parental time and home goods/services inputs as well as between these family-based inputs and market-based child care, with elasticities of substitution ranging from 0.2 to 0.5. We find no systematic effects of parental education on the relative productivity of parental time and other home inputs. Finally, we use counterfactual simulations to explore the extent and sources of variation in investments across families, as well as investment responses to changes in input prices. We find that variation in prices explains 48% of the overall variance in investment expenditures, and differences in wages explain more than half of the investment expenditure gap between college-educated and non-college-educated parents. We further show that accounting for the degree of input complementarity implied by our estimates has important implications for the responses of individual inputs to any price change and for the responses in total investments and skill accumulation to large (but not small) price changes.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Children, Human Capital, Economic Mobility, Credit, Productivity, Skilled Labor, Price
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Qian Liu, Lance Lochner, Youngmin Park, Youngki Shin
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP), Western University
  • Abstract: This paper shows that repeated cross-section data with multiple skill measures (one continuous and repeated) available each period are sufficient to nonparametrically identify the evolution of skill returns and cross-sectional skill distributions. With panel data and the same available measurements, the dynamics of skills can also be identified. Our identification strategy motivates a multi-step nonparametric estimation strategy. We further show that if any continuous repeated measurement is shown to be linear in skills, a much simpler GMM estimator can be used. Using HRS data on men ages 52+ from 1996-2016, we show that one of the available (continuous and repeated) skill measures is linear in skills and implement our GMM estimation approach. Our estimates suggest that the returns to skill were fairly stable from the mid-1990s to the Great Recession, rising thereafter. We document considerable differences in skills and lifecycle skill profiles over ages 52–70 across cohorts, with more recent cohorts possessing lower skills in their mid-50s but experiencing much weaker skill declines with age. We also document skill differences by education and race, which are stable across ages and explain roughly one-third and one-half, respectively, of the corresponding differences in wages. We observe substantial differences in skills for men in their mid-50s choosing to retire at different ages, but no clear evidence of sharp declines in skills surrounding retirement ages. Finally, we show that individual fixed effects account for more than a third of all skill variation at age 60, with considerable persistence in year-to-year skill innovations.
  • Topic: Global Recession, Labor Issues, Human Capital, Men, Productivity, Skilled Labor, Retirement
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jacob Bastian, Lance Lochner
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP), Western University
  • Abstract: Parents spend considerable time and resources investing in their children's development. Given evidence that the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) aects maternal labor supply, we investigate how the EITC aects a broad array of time-use activities, focusing on the amount and nature of time spent with children. Using 2003-2018 time-use data, we nd that federal and state EITC expansions increase maternal work time, which reduces time devoted to home production, leisure, and time with children. However, for children of all ages, almost none of the reduction comes from time devoted to investment activities, such as active learning and development activities.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Children, Women, Income Inequality, Tax Systems, Human Capital, Family, Productivity
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Yifan Gong, Todd Stinebrickner, Ralph Stinebrickner
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP), Western University
  • Abstract: While a large literature is interested in the relationship between family and labor supply outcomes, little is known about the expectations of these objects at earlier stages. We examine these expectations, taking advantage of unique data from the Berea Panel Study. In addition to characterizing expectations, starting during college, the data details outcomes for ten years after graduation. Methodological contributions come from approaches to validate quality of survey expectations data and the recognition that expectations data, along with longitudinal data, can potentially help address endogeneity issues arising in the estimation of the causal effect of family on labor supply.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Human Capital, Family, Labor Market, Productivity
  • Political Geography: Canada, Global Focus
  • Author: Yifan Gong, Ralph Stinebrickner, Todd Stinebrickner
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP), Western University
  • Abstract: An important feature of post-secondary schooling is the experimentation that accompanies sequential decision-making. Specifically, by entering college, a student gains the option to decide at a future time whether it is optimal to remain in college or to drop out, after resolving uncertainty that existed at entrance about factors that affect the return to college. This paper uses data from the Berea Panel Study to quantify the value of this option. The unique nature of the data allows us to make a distinction between “actual” option values and “perceived” option values and to examine the accuracy of students’ perceptions. We find that the average perceived option value is 65% smaller than the average actual option value ($8,670 versus $25,040). A further investigation suggests that this understatement is not due to misperceptions about how much uncertainty is resolved during college, but, rather, because of overoptimism at entrance about the returns to college. In terms of policy implications related to college entrance, we do not find evidence that students understate the overall value of college, which depends on the sum of the option value and expectations at entrance about the returns to college.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Human Capital, Higher Education, Economic Mobility, Productivity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Juan Herreno, Sergio Ocampo
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP), Western University
  • Abstract: Selection into self-employment among the poor is dominated by subsistence concerns, which leads to high levels of unproductive self-employment in developing countries. We incorporate this view into an otherwise benchmark macro-development model by allowing for labor frictions. Standard models that rely only on financial frictions are at odds with crucial features of the data, including large self-employment rates among the poor and the response of labor markets after well-identified labor demand shocks. We study the efficacy of a wide range of development policies on occupational choices, prices, and productivity. We find that providing unemployment benefits improves selection into self-employment, increasing total-factor productivity (TFP). Self-employment grants and unconditional transfers lower TFP by making self-employment more attractive to low-productivity individuals. Finally, financial reforms that improve access to credit succeed in raising productivity, but they do not address the subsistence concerns of poor individuals. Self-employment is still concentrated among the poor after the reforms take place.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Employment, Human Capital, Macroeconomics, Economic Development , Productivity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Gianluca Orefice, Giovanni Peri
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: The process of matching between firms and workers is an important mechanism in determining the distribution of wages. In a labor market characterised by large dispersion of workers' productivity and worker-firm complementarity, high quality firms have strong incentives to screen for the quality of workers. This process will increase the positive quality association of firm-worker matches known as positive assortative matching (PAM). Immigration in a local labor market, by increasing the variance of workers abilities, may drive stronger PAM between firms and workers. Using French matched employer-employee (DADS) data over the period 1995-2005 we document that positive supply-driven changes of immigrant workers in a district increased the strength of PAM. We then show that this association is consistent with causality, is quantitatively significant, and is associated with higher average productivity and firm profits, but also with higher wage dispersion. We also show that the increased degree of positive assortative matching is mainly reached by high-productive firms "losing" lower quality workers and "attracting" higher quality workers.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Labor Issues, Immigration, Immigrants, Migrant Workers
  • Political Geography: France
  • Author: Simone Bertolia, Frédéric Docquier, Hillel Rapoport, Ilse Ruyssen
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: We use a multilevel approach to characterize the relationship between weather shocks and (internal and international) migration intentions. We combine individual survey data on migration intentions with measures of localized weather shocks for Western African countries over 2008-2016. A meta-analysis on results from about 310,000 regressions is conducted to identify the specification of weather anoma-lies that maximizes the goodness of fit of our empirical model. We then use this best specification to document heterogeneous mobility responses to weather shocks, which can be due to differences in long-term climatic conditions, migration percep- tions, or adaptation capabilities. We find that droughts are associated with a higher probability of migration intentions in Senegal, Niger and Ivory Coast. The effect on international migration intentions are only significant in Niger. These effects are amplified, but qualitatively similar, when restricting the sample to rural low-skilled respondents.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Migration, Labor Issues, Skilled Labor, Weather
  • Political Geography: West Africa, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Niger
  • Author: Inés Berniell, Lucila Berniell, Dolores de la Mata, María Edo, Yarine Fawaz, Matilde P. Machado, Mariana Marchionno
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
  • Abstract: In this paper we assess whether changes in labor market decisions upon motherhood lead to potential inefficient allocations of talent. Using an event study approach with retrospective data drawn from SHARE for 29 European countries we show that motherhood effects go beyond the well studied effects of labor market participation decisions: the arrival of the first child substantially affects the uptaking of alternative modes of employment, such as part-time and self-employment, that are characterized by flexible or reduced work schedules but also lower pay on average. We also show that the size of labor market responses to motherhood are larger in societies with more conservative social-norms or with weak policies regarding work-life balance. To assess the effects of motherhood over the allocation of talent, we explore how labor market responses to parenthood vary by alternative measures of talent or ability. We find that all women, even those with the highest level of ability and abler than their husbands face large motherhood effects, while men show virtually no changes in the labor market when becoming fathers. We also find that mothers who become self-employed after the birth of the first child are those that are less entrepreneurial-able according to cognitive ability and personality traits shown to impair business survival. Overall, our results suggest relevant changes in the allocation of talent caused by gender differences in nonmarket responsibilities that can have sizable impacts on aggregate market productivity.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Children, Employment
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Matias Ciaschi
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
  • Abstract: Using longitudinal data for Argentina, this paper measures the labor supply reaction of different household members to a breadwinner’s job loss. Firm events and local unemployment shocks are exploited as exogenous sources of variation to estimate the causal effect. Our main findings show that job loss by the male household head has a significant and substantial effect on the labor supply response of other household members, both at the extensive and intensive margin. While we do not find any effect on daughters, female partners and sons increase their labor market participation. The latter are also more likely to drop out from the educational system. These results are stronger among economically vulnerable households.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Labor Issues, Employment
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sherman Robinson, Marcus Noland, Egor Gornostay, Soyoung Han
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: On July 6, 2020, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced modifications to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program eliminating temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking all classes online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning in the fall 2020 semester. Foreign students violating the rule would be subject to deportation. Under public pressure, the Trump administration rescinded the order on July 14. Had the policy been implemented, more than 1 million foreign students studying in the United States could have been deported. The authors use an economywide simulation model to estimate the economic impact on the United States if the policy had been implemented. They find that the policy would have cost the US economy up to 752,000 jobs and $68 billion in lost GDP in the short run. Their estimates are larger than those reported in other studies because they consider both direct and indirect effects of the policy. In the long run, the move would have reduced the research productivity of American universities and adversely affected research, innovation, and entrepreneurship across the economy, in both the private and public sectors.
  • Topic: Education, Migration, Labor Issues, Donald Trump, COVID-19, Protectionism
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Robert Z. Lawrence
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Many countries have launched industrial policy programs to improve their manufacturing competitiveness based on the idea that countries with larger trade surpluses or smaller deficits in manufacturing will have higher shares of manufacturing employment. And as countries try to generate a recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, these programs are being enlarged. But while the higher productivity in manufacturing that these programs generate may initially increase manufacturing output and expand trade surpluses in manufacturing, it will also reduce the manufacturing jobs required to manufacture those goods for domestic spending and generating the larger trade balances. As a result, the impact on employment is likely to be substantially smaller than might be expected. Improved productivity implies that goods can be manufactured more cheaply using fewer workers, so unless there is high enough demand at home and abroad for the lower-priced or new products that productivity growth generates, any additional jobs created could be substantially lower than might be expected. This is not just a theoretical possibility. Using data from a sample of 60 countries, this paper shows that between 1995 and 2011, on average countries with trade surpluses in manufacturing experienced declines in manufacturing employment shares that were slightly larger than the declines in countries with manufacturing trade deficits. Additionally, the declines in manufacturing employment shares were as large in countries where the manufacturing trade balance moved in a positive direction as in those where it declined. This suggests that even if industrial policies generate larger trade surpluses in manufacturing, they may not succeed in reversing the trend declines in manufacturing employment shares that have persisted in many countries for several decades.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Employment, Manufacturing, Trade Policy, Protectionism, Trade Deficit
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sandra Leitner, Oliver Reiter
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: This paper analyses job advertisements to identify the particular skills, abilities and characteristics that are in demand on the Austrian labour market. It takes a novel approach and uses information extracted from over 1.5 million job advertisements over the past 15 years from Austria’s largest online job portal, karriere.at, to shed light on employers’ skills needs and the relative importance of, and demand for, different skill types over time. It develops a taxonomy which classifies observable skills into information and communications technology (ICT) skills (which are of increasing importance as a result of the ongoing digital revolution), cognitive skills, cognitively based skills and non-cognitive (soft) skills; but it also takes into account other factors that frequently appear in job advertisements, such as previous work experience, physical appearance, and the willingness to travel, work overtime, weekends or shifts, among others. It shows that Austrian employers are quite demanding: cognitive skills, previous work experience and ICT skills were the three most frequent requirements, appearing in (almost) every second job advertisement in 2019. Over the years, these categories have also become increasingly important to employers. Among cognitively based skills, language skills were the most important, also appearing in every second job advertisement. The ability to work as part of a team, communication skills, independence, flexibility and accuracy were the top five non-cognitive (soft) skills demanded by employers.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Communications, Labor Issues, Employment, Labor Market, Skilled Labor, Informal Economy
  • Political Geography: Austria
  • Author: Santosh Mehrotra
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: Social protection and social security have very limited coverage in India. This reality has not changed since independence, one of greatest failures of the development strategy India adopted in the early fifties. The labour force is predominantly unorganized. As much as 91 per cent of the labour force are in informal employment, i.e. without any social insurance we estimated from the NSO’s Periodic Labour Force Survey (2017-18) (Mehrotra and Parida, 2019). This is barely down 2 percentage points from 93% in 2011-12 (NSO’s 68th Round). In fact, regardless of the growth rate of GDP, this high share of informality in the workforce had not changed until 2012, and when it fell recently, it did so by merely 2 points. The rest 9 per cent of the workforce has varying levels of social security in the form of provident fund, paid leave, medical insurance and other benefits.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Social Policy, Social Security, Welfare, Informal Economy
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Amit Basole, Paaritosh Nath
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: The recently released data from the 2017-2018 Periodic Labour Force Survey have created a controversy regarding the quantity of employment generated in the past few years in India. Estimates ranging from an absolute increase of 23 million to an absolute decline of 15.5 million have been published. In this paper we show that some of the variation in estimates can be explained by the way in which populations are projected based on Census 2011 data. We estimate the change in employment using the cohort-component method of population projection. We show that for men total employment rose but the increase fell far short of the increase in working age population. For women, employment fell. The decline is concentrated among women engaged in part-time or occasional work in agriculture and construction.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Employment, Workforce
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Zico Dasgupta
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: Does there exist a trade-off between labour’s income share and output growth rate? Or does a reduction in wage share in itself reduces the output growth rate? These questions have returned to the centre stage in the midst of India’s present crisis as the government sought the dilution and suspension of labour laws as a counter-cyclical policy instrument. In the absence of any other stimulus or countervailing factors, the impact of such a policy would hinge on the relationship between income distribution and effective demand. This paper attempts to lay bare this relationship for the Indian economy through an empirical analysis of India’s macro data and a theoretical model on the basis of regression results.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Employment, Demand
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Surbhi Kesar
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: We examine the Indian economy during a peak period of high growth between 2005-2012 to analyze nature and patterns of household-level transitions across the different sectors of the economy and to relate these transitions to the broader process of structural change. We use a pan-India household-level panel data to categorize households according to their primary income sources into seven sectors characterized by varying degrees of formality/informality and various production structures and labour processes. We find that even this this relatively brief period, there has been a very large volume of transitions of households across these sectors. However, despite such volumes of transitions, the overall economic structure, and its segmentations, has continued to be reproduced, along with a regeneration of ‘traditional’ informal spaces that were often expected to dissolve over time with high economic growth. To ascertain the nature of these transitions – ‘favorable’ or ‘unfavorable’ – in terms of economic well-being of households, we employ a counterfactual analysis. We find that a majority of the transitions in the economy during the period of analysis have been ‘unfavourable’ in nature, with large proportion of households transitioning to sectors that are not ‘optimal’ locations for them, given their socio-economic characteristics. Further, using a multinomial logit regression framework, we find that the likelihood and nature of these transitions significantly vary with household characteristics, some of which, like social caste, are structurally given and cannot be optimally chosen by households. This dynamic process of reproducing a rather stagnant structure, along with substantial ‘unfavourable’ transitions towards ‘traditional’ informal economic spaces that are continuously reshuffled and reconstituted, provide insights into the complexity of India’s development trajectory that is often glossed over in the literature.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Employment, Economic Growth, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Rahul De
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: This paper is based on fieldwork I had undertaken regarding tribal migrant workers in the construction sector, in Ahmedabad in May-July 2018, coordinated by Aajevika Bureau(AB). I had undertaken this fieldwork to assess the work of AB and advise them about strategies to collectivize migrant labour groups. While interacting with a particular social group (Bhil tribals from South West Rajasthan) who work in the construction sector, I struggled to capture the specificity of their experience through the concept of informal labour. This paper is an attempt to characterize the specificity of their social experience, while also, reframing the concept of informal labour. I use the concept of labour process (Michael Burawoy: Manufacturing Consent) to argue that there is not a binary or one-dimensional power relationship between informal labour and owner/state/capital, but instead, the process of surplus appropriation occurs at multiple nodes through different agents. In this paper, I have identified multiple modes of surplus extraction which are embedded as institutions or social norms in the labour process. Further, I argue that there is a close link between the status of tribal workers as marginalized within society, and their status as displaced and marginalized in their living areas and workplace. This difference translates into identity based discrimination faced in the city, as well as, structural exclusion from the governance apparatus faced as migrants. Therefore, tribal migrant workers do not earn enough to subsist and are highly dependent on early child birth, non-remunerated services of their family and the social security net provided by their village community. This paper concludes that primitive accumulation, fragmenting land ownership and indebtedness creates a supply of tribal migrants, who have no other recourse to employment and are forced to work in the deplorable conditions found in the construction sector. Tribal migrant workers in the informal sector are an important population to target for social policies, because they are more vulnerable than other social identities. This paper hopes to contribute to the framing of interventions and policies that civil society organizations and state authorities can implement to improve the terms of employment and working conditions of informal labour.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Employment, Migrant Workers
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Tanya Goldman, David Weil
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: The nature of work is changing, with workers enduring increasingly precarious working conditions without any safety net. In response, this Article proposes a new “Concentric Circle framework” which would improve workers’ access to civil, labor, and employment rights. Many businesses, including app-based platforms, have restructured toward “fissured workplace” business models. They treat workers like employees (specifying behaviors and closely monitoring outcomes) but they classify workers as independent contractors (engaging them at an arms-length and cutting them off from rights and benefits tied to employment). These arrangements confound legal classifications of “employment” and expose deficiencies with existing workplace protections, which are based on “employment relationships.” As a result, a growing number of workers lack both bargaining power and critical workpalce rights and benefits. We propose a Concentric Circle framework to better govern workers’ rights in the modern era. At the core, we maintain that certain rights and protections should not be tethered to an employment relationship, but to work itself. Thus, the right to be compensated for work and paid a minimum wage; freedom from discrimination and retaliation; access to a safe working environment, and the right to associate and engage in concerted activity should belong to all workers, not just employees. Second, as a middle circle, we argue for a rebuttable presumption of employment to address those rights that remain exclusive to employees (and not independent contractors), and we propose an updated legal test of employment. Finally, at the outer ring of the framework, we suggest policies that could enhance workers’ access to benefits that promote worker mobility and social welfare. Other scholarship has focused exclusively on either independent contractors or employees, or it has proposed a new category of worker altogether. We contend that this comprehensive framework better assigns rights, responsibilities, and protections in the modern workplace than do current legal doctrines or alternative proposals.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Law, Legal Theory , Civil Rights, Legal Sector, Workforce
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ivan Mendieta-Muñoz, Codrina Rada, Ansel Schiavone, Rudi von Arnim
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes regional contributions to the US payroll share from 1977 to 2017 and the four major business cycles throughout this period. We implement two empirical exercises. First, we decompose the US payroll share across states. Utilizing a Divisia index decomposition technique yields exact contributions of real wages, employment structure, labor productivity and relative prices across the states to the aggregate change in the payroll share. Key findings are that the decline in the aggregate (i) is driven by decoupling between real wage and labor productivity; and (ii) is initially driven by the rust belt states, but subsequently dominated by relatively large states. Second, we employ mixture models on real wages and labor productivity across US states to discern whether distinct mechanisms appear to generate these distributions. Univariate models (iii) indicate the possibility that two distinct mechanisms generate state labor productivities, raising the question of whether regional dualism has taken hold. Lastly, we use bivariate mixture models to investigate whether such dualism and decoupling manifest in the joint distributions of payroll shares and labor productivity, too. Results (iv) are affirmative, and further suggest a tendency for high performing states to have relatively high payroll shares initially, and low payroll shares more recently.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Labor Issues, Productivity, Workforce
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Servaas Storm
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: Questions about the decline of Social democracy continue to excite wide interest, even in the era of Covid-19. This paper takes a fresh look at topic. It argues that social democratic politics faces a fundamental dilemma: short-term practical relevance requires it to accept, at least partly, the very socio-economic conditions which it purports to change in the longer run. Bhaduri’s (1993) essay which analyzes social democracy’s attempts to navigate this dilemma by means of ‘a nationalization of consumption’ and Keynesian demand management, was written before the rise of New (‘Third Way’) Labor and before the Great Financial Crisis of 2007-8. This paper provides an update, arguing that New Labor’s attempt to rescue ‘welfare capitalism’ entailed a new solution to the dilemma facing social democracy based on an expansion of employment, i.e. an all-out emphasis on “jobs, jobs, jobs”. The flip-side (or social cost) of the emphasis on job growth has been a stagnation of productivity growth—which, in turn, has put the ‘welfare state’ under increasing pressure of fiscal austerity. The popular discontent and rise of ‘populist’ political parties is closely related to the failure of New Labor to navigate social democracy’s dilemma.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Democracy, Capitalism, Economic Growth, Welfare, Productivity, Social Democracy
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: William Lazonick, Philip Moss, Joshua Weitz
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: During the 1960s and 1970s, blacks with no more than high-school educations gained significant access to well-paid unionized employment opportunities, epitomized by semi-skilled operative jobs in the automobile industry, to which they previously had limited access. Anti-discrimination laws under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act with oversight by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission supported this upward mobility for blacks in the context of a growing demand for blue-collar labor. From the late 1970s, however, the impact of global competition and the offshoring of manufacturing combined with the financialization of the corporation to decimate these stable and well-paid blue-collar jobs. Under the seniority provisions of the now beleaguered industrial unions, blacks tended to be last hired and first fired. As U.S.-based blue-collar jobs were permanently lost, U.S. business corporations and government agencies failed to make sufficient investments in the education and skills of the U.S. labor force to usher in a new era of upward socioeconomic mobility. This organizational failure left blacks most vulnerable to downward mobility. Instead of retaining corporate profits and reinvesting in the productive capabilities of employees, major business corporations became increasingly focused on downsizing their labor forces and distributing profits to shareholders in the form of cash dividends and stock buybacks. Legitimizing massive distributions to shareholders was the flawed and pernicious ideology that a company should be run to “maximize shareholder value.” As the U.S. economy transitioned from the Old Economy business model, characterized by a career with one company, to the New Economy business model, characterized by interfirm labor mobility, advanced education and social networks became increasingly important for building careers in well-paid white-collar occupations. Along with non-white Hispanics, blacks found themselves at a distinct disadvantage relative to whites and Asians in accessing these New Economy middle-class employment opportunities. Eventually, the downward socioeconomic mobility experienced by blacks would also extend to devastating loss of well-paid and stable employment for whites who lacked the higher education now needed to enter the American middle class. By the twenty-first century, general downward mobility had become a defining characteristic of American society, irrespective of race, ethnicity, or gender. Since the 1980s, the enemy of equal employment opportunity through upward socioeconomic mobility has been the pervasive and entrenched corporate-governance ideology and practice of maximizing shareholder value (MSV). For most Americans, of whatever race, ethnicity, and gender, MSV is the not-so-invisible hand that has a chokehold on the emergence of the stable and well-paid employment opportunities that are essential for sustainable prosperity.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Civil Rights, Unions, Black Politics, African American Studies, Workforce
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Giorgos Gouzoulis, Collin Constantine
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: School of Oriental and African Studies - University of London
  • Abstract: This article offers a historical and econometric study on the determinants of functional income inequality in Chile and Mexico between 1980-2011. This is the first study on the determinants of the labour share in developing economies using single- country analysis that covers the historical period before 1990. We find robust evidence that government consumption is a positive driver of the respective wage shares. Since Chile has experienced persistent cuts in government welfare as opposed to Mexico, fiscal austerity is a fundamental explanation for its falling wage share. Private debt is the second most important explanation for why wage shares have fallen in Chile. We find no evidence of this channel in the Mexican case. However, globalisation has exposed Mexico’s labour-intensive industries to wage competition and this lowers its wage share. In contrast, Chile’s commodity exports and wage share have benefitted from trade globalisation. These comparative results demonstrate the importance of country-level studies as each country’s historical evolution and varied implementation of neoliberalism can tell unique distributional stories and provide more accurate policy insights for an inclusive growth strategy.
  • Topic: Political Economy, Labor Issues, Inequality, Neoliberalism
  • Political Geography: South America, North America, Mexico, Chile
  • Author: Alma Boustati
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: School of Oriental and African Studies - University of London
  • Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to analyse the evolution of female labour force participation in Jordan vis-à-vis institutional and economic development. When it comes to institutions, the primary focus will be on family law and labour law. Within the economic development framework, the focus will be on how the social contract motivated the structuring of the economy, labour market, and approach to welfare during three stages of Jordan’s economic development, namely the industrialisation period (1967-1982), the economic bust period (1983-1992), and the economic adjustment period (post-1993). Within each period, the implications of these factors on the composition and size of the female labour force participation is discussed. The findings indicate that a patriarchal approach to welfare, and consequently the low female labour force participation, was sustainable through economic policy which relied on high male wages and high non-wage income achieved through a combination of aid, remittances, and cheap foreign labour.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Labor Issues, Women, Welfare
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Jordan
  • Author: David Evans, Maryam Akmal, Pamela Jakiela
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Many countries remain far from achieving gender equality in the classroom. Using data from 126 countries between 1960 and 2010, we document four facts. First, women are more educated today than fifty years ago in every country in the world. Second, they remain less educated than men in the vast majority of countries. Third, in many countries with low levels of education for both men and women in 1960, gender gaps widened as more boys went to school, then narrowed as girls enrolled; thus, gender gaps got worse before they got better. Fourth, gender gaps rarely persist in countries where boys are attaining high levels of education. Most countries with large, current gender gaps have low levels of male educational attainment. Many also perform poorly on other measures of development such as life expectancy and GDP per capita. Improving girls’ education is an important goal in its own right, but closing gender gaps in education will not be sufficient to close critical gaps in adult life outcomes.
  • Topic: Education, Gender Issues, Labor Issues, Inequality, Feminism, Equality
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David Deming
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) jobs are a key contributor to economic growth and national competitiveness. Yet STEM workers are perceived to be in short supply. This paper shows that the “STEM shortage” phenomenon is explained by technological change, which introduces new job skills and makes old ones obsolete. We find that the initially high economic return to applied STEM degrees declines by more than 50 percent in the first decade of working life. This coincides with a rapid exit of college graduates from STEM occupations. Using detailed job vacancy data, we show that STEM jobs change especially quickly over time, leading to flatter age-earnings profiles as the skills of older cohorts became obsolete. Our findings highlight the importance of technology-specific skills in explaining life-cycle returns to education, and show that STEM jobs are the leading edge of technology diffusion in the labor market.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Political Economy, Science and Technology, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Semiray Kasoolu, Ricardo Hausmann, Tim O'Brien, Miguel Ajgel Santos
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Women in Jordan are excluded from labor market opportunities at among the highest rates in the world. Previous efforts to explain this outcome have focused on specific, isolated aspects of the problem and have not exploited available datasets to test across causal explanations. We develop a comprehensive framework to analyze the drivers of low female employment rates in Jordan and systematically test their validity, using micro-level data from Employment and Unemployment Surveys (2008-2018) and the Jordanian Labor Market Panel Survey (2010-2016). We find that the nature of low female inclusion in Jordan’s labor market varies significantly with educational attainment, and identify evidence for different factors affecting different educational groups. Among women with high school education or less, we observe extremely low participation levels and find the strongest evidence for this phenomenon tracing to traditional social norms and poor public transportation. On the higher end of the education spectrum – university graduates and above – we find that the problem is not one of participation, but rather of unemployment, which we attribute to a small and undiversified private sector that is unable to accommodate women’s needs for work and work-family balance.
  • Topic: Education, Gender Issues, Political Economy, Labor Issues, Women, Inequality
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Jordan
  • Author: Alice Evans
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper shows that countries may reduce labour repression if they perceive this as conducive to export growth. This paper traces what happened before, in the presence of, and then following the withdrawal of international economic incentives for pro-labour reforms in Vietnam and Bangladesh. The Government of Vietnam announced it would allow independent trade unions, in order to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and increase market access. Similarly, the Government of Bangladesh rescinded restrictions on unions, following global condemnation of Rana Plaza and fear of buyers leaving en masse. Both governments reduced labour repression to promote export growth. With high-level authorisation, Vietnamese and Bangladeshi activists and reformists became less fearful, and mobilised for substantive change. However, these economic incentives were short-lived: after Trump’s election, the USA withdrew from TPP; buyers continued to source from Bangladesh, and squeezed prices (without requiring labour reforms). Both governments then amped up labour repression - notwithstanding private regulation, economic upgrading, industry growth, and mass strikes.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Reform, Economic Growth, Trans-Pacific Partnership
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, South Asia, Vietnam
  • Author: Ricardo Hausmann, Tim O'Brien, Miguel Angel Santos, Ana Grisanti, Semiray Kasoolu, Nikita Taniparti, Jorge Tapia, Ricardo Villasmil
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: In the decade 1999-2009, Jordan experienced an impressive growth acceleration, tripling its exports and increasing income per capita by 38%. Since then, a number of external shocks that include the Global Financial Crisis (2008-2009), the Arab Spring (2011), the Syrian Civil War (2011), and the emergence of the Islamic State (2014) have affected Jordan in significant ways and thrown its economy out of balance. Jordan’s debt-to-GDP ratio has ballooned from 55% (2009) to 94% (2018). The economy has continued to grow amidst massive fiscal adjustment and balance of payments constraints, but the large increase in population – by 50% between 2008 and 2017 – driven by massive waves of refugees has resulted in a 12% cumulative loss in income per capita (2010-2017). Moving forward, debt sustainability will require not only continued fiscal consolidation but also faster growth and international support to keep interest payments on the debt contained. We have developed an innovative framework to align Jordan’s growth strategy with its changing factor endowments. The framework incorporates service industries into an Economic Complexity analysis, utilizing the Dun and Bradstreet database, together with an evaluation of the evolution of Jordan’s comparative advantages over time. Combining several tools to identify critical constraints faced by sectors with the greatest potential, we have produced a roadmap with key elements of a strategy for Jordan to return to faster, more sustainable and more inclusive growth that is consistent with its emerging comparative advantages.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Women, GDP, International Development, Economic Growth
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Jordan
  • Author: Michael Poyker
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: I study the economic externalities of convict labor on local labor markets and firms. Using newly collected panel data on U.S. prisons and convict-labor camps from 1886 to 1940, I calculate each county’s exposure to prisons. I exploit quasi-random variation in county’s exposure to capacities of pre-convict-labor prisons as an instrument. I find that competition from cheap prison-made goods led to higher unemployment, lower labor-force participation, and reduced wages (particularly for women) in counties that housed competing manufacturing industries. The introduction of convict labor accounts for 0.5 percentage-point slower annual growth in manufacturing wages during 1880– 1900. At the same time, affected industries had to innovate away from the competition and thus had higher patenting rates. I also document that technological changes in affected industries were capital-biased.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Labor Issues, Capitalism, Domestic politics, Macroeconomics, Mass Incarceration, Manufacturing
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Servaas Storm
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: Strong labor protections for ordinary workers are often portrayed as a ‘luxury developing countries cannot afford’. No study has been more influential in propagating this perversity trope in the context of the Indian economy than the QJE article of Besley and Burgess (2004). Their article provides econometric evidence that pro-worker regulation resulted in lower output, employment, investment and productivity in India’s registered manufacturing sector. This paper reviews existing critiques of Besley and Burgess (2004), which highlight conceptual and measurement errors and uncover econometric weaknesses. The paper takes a step beyond these: it reports a failure to replicate Besley and Burgess’ findings and demonstrate the nonrobustness of their results. My deconstruction is not only about the econometrics, however. I show that Besley and Burgess’ findings are not just inconsistent with their theoretical priors, but also internally contradictory and empirically implausible, taxing any person’s capacity for belief. The paper, written by two ‘useful economists’, exhibits a gratuitous empiricism in which priors trump evidence. On all counts, it fails the test of being useful to the purpose of ‘evidence-based’ public policy advice.mp Evidence and Progress Gets Stalled
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Labor Issues, Inequality, Labor Policies
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: José Galdo, Bayarmaa Dalkhjavd, Altantsetseg Batchuluun, Soyolmaa Batbekh, Maria Laura Alzúa
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
  • Abstract: Because of its high incidence and potential threat to social cohesion, youth unemployment is a global concern. This study uses a randomized controlled trial to analyze the effectiveness of a demand-driven vocational training program for disadvantaged youth in Mongolia. Mongolia, a transitional country whose economic structure shifted from a communist, centrally planned economy to a free-market economy over a relatively short period, offers a new setting in which to test the effectiveness of standard active labor market policies. This study reports positive and statistically significant short-term effects of vocational training on monthly earnings, skills matching, and self-employment. Substantial heterogeneity emerges as relatively older, richer, and better-educated individuals drive these positive effects. A second intervention that randomly assigns participants to receive repetitive weekly newsletters with information on market returns to vocational training shows positive impacts on the length of exposure to and successful completion of the program. These positive effects, however, are only observed at the intensive margin and do not lead to higher employment or earnings outcomes.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, Labor Issues, Employment, Youth, Labor Policies
  • Political Geography: Mongolia, Asia
  • Author: Leonardo Peñaloza Pacheco
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
  • Abstract: The aim of this paper is to estimate the causal effect of the migration of Venezuelans to Colombia on the Colombian real wage, since 2016. In the second semester of 2016, the borders between Colombia and Venezuela were reopened after a year of being closed due to a political crisis between the two countries; this re-opening is exploited as an identification strategy. Using data from the Unidad Administrativa Especial de Migraci´on Colombia and the Registro Administrativo de Migrantes Venezolanos in Colombia, it is estimated that the migratory flow of Venezuelans to Colombia increased the Economically Active Population of the border areas of La Guajira and Norte de Santander by approximately 10% and 15%, since its reopening. Differences-in-differences methodology and Synthetic Control Method are implemented and the results show that the increase in labor supply in these regions that resulted from the migratory flow generated a decline in real hourly wages of approximately 6%-9% on average. This decrease in real wages appears to be greater for men as compared to women. There is also evidence of a greater drop in real wages among people with lower levels of qualification and in conditions of informal employment.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Political Economy, Labor Issues, Employment, Income Inequality
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America, Venezuela
  • Author: Mariana Viollaz
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
  • Abstract: This paper quantifies labor law violations and how the enforcement efforts impact on the compliance level by considering the possibility of different labor regulations being violated simultaneously. The findings for the Peruvian labor markets over the period 2004-2013 indicate that: (i) multiple violations of labor regulations are an important feature of Peruvian labor markets; (ii) young workers, workers with low level of education, indigenous workers, workers in micro firms and workers employed in the agricultural sector have higher chances of being deprived of several labor benefits simultaneously; (iii) the enforcement of labor regulations, captured through the number of labor inspections at the region level, is effective in detecting and penalizing extreme situations of multiple violations of the labor law, but the evidence also suggests that firms adjust only partially as an attempt to reduce the amount of a potential fine if discovered, and that laid off workers during the adjustment process moved to the informal sector where firms are not inspected. These findings are useful from a policy perspective indicating that there is space to improve firms’ incentives when facing an increase in the enforcement effort.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Law Enforcement, Law, Regulation, Labor Policies, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Peru
  • Author: David Jaume, Alexander Willén
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
  • Abstract: Temporary school closures (TSC) represent a major challenge to policymakers across the globe due to their potential impact on instructional time and student achievement. A neglected but equally important question relates to how such closures affect the labor market behavior of parents. This paper provides novel evidence on the effect of temporary school closures on parental labor market behavior, exploiting the prevalence of primary school teacher strikes across time and provinces in Argentina. We find clear evidence that temporary school closures negatively impact the labor market participation of mothers, in particular lower-skilled mothers less attached to the labor force and mothers in dual-income households who face a lower opportunity cost of dropping out of the labor force. This effect translates into a statistically significant and economically meaningful reduction in labor earnings: the average mother whose child is exposed to ten days of TSCs suffers a decline in monthly labor earnings equivalent to 2.92% of the mean. While we do not find any effects among fathers in general, fathers with lower predicted earnings than their spouses also experience negative labor market effects. This suggests that the parental response to TSCs depend, at least in part, on the relative income of each parent. A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggest that the aggregate impact of TSCs on annual parental earnings is more than $113 million, and that the average mother would be willing to forego 1.6 months of labor earnings in order to ensure that there are no TSCs while her child is in primary school.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Markets, Political Economy, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jorge Tamayo, Anant Nyshadham, Carlos Medina, Gaurav Khanna
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
  • Abstract: Canonical models of crime emphasize economic incentives. Yet, causal evidence of sorting into criminal occupations in response to individual-level variation in incentives is limited. We link administrative socioeconomic microdata with the universe of arrests in Medellίn over a decade. We exploit exogenous variation in formal-sector employment around a socioeconomic-score cutoff, below which individuals receive benefits if not formally employed, to test whether a higher cost to formal-sector employment induces crime. Regression discontinuity estimates show this policy generated reductions in formal-sector employment and a corresponding spike in organized crime, but no effects on crimes of impulse or opportunity.
  • Topic: Crime, Economics, Political Economy, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Human trafficking remains a significant problem in Africa, exploiting vulnerable individuals—children, women, and men—for forced labor as well as prostitution.
  • Topic: United Nations, Labor Issues, Children, Human Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa, North Africa, West Africa, East Africa
  • Author: Goitseone Khanie
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis
  • Abstract: This study examines the prevalence of female participation in labour market activities and investigates the role played by education in this participation. Using the 2015/16 Botswana Multi Topic Household Survey data and a multinomial logit model, the study found that women with tertiary education are more likely to be wage employed relative to self-employment, whereas those with lower to no education are more likely to be unemployed or out of the labour force. This is because higher education is normally considered a prerequisite for most wage jobs. It is therefore imperative for the government to continue educating women beyond secondary level as it will better equip them to participate in more meaningful labour market activities. On the other hand, there is need to stimulate the demand side of the labour market in order to accommodate the rising numbers of women with high levels of education. In order to encourage participation of women in high rewarding self-employment activities, there is need to intensify empowerment schemes that are largely oriented towards their self-employment.
  • Topic: Education, Gender Issues, Labor Issues, Women, Employment
  • Political Geography: Africa, Botswana
  • Author: Johanne Motsatsi
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis
  • Abstract: The objective of this study is to estimate the determinants of unemployment in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region using annual data from 2000 to 2016. Given the characteristic of the data, the study adopts Fixed Effect (FE) estimation technique. For further analysis, the study also estimated the ARDL panel model to capture persistence effect of unemployment in the region. The FE results reveals that real GDP, foreign direct investment, consumer price index, credit to the private sector and interest rate are negatively related to unemployment. While trade openness, labour productivity and population have a positive sign. The results estimated with ARDL model are not very different from those of FE model, but we obtained a noticeably smaller estimates for ARDL model. Variables which have negative association with unemployment suggest that they are likely to reduce unemployment. Therefore, such indicators may be of interest to policy makers when formulating unemployment reduction strategies. In terms of policy advise, the study recommends the government of SADC member states to encourage the education system that can equip leaners with entrepreneurial skills and in-job practical skills, in order to promote high success rate of SMMEs as well as to provide skills needed in the labour market. It also recommended enforcement of free trade of goods and services in the region as a means of making the industrial sector an engine of economic growth in order to create much needed employment.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Labor Issues, Employment, Labor Policies, Macroeconomics, Unemployment
  • Political Geography: Africa, Botswana
  • Author: Koketso Molefhi
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis
  • Abstract: The study examines the impact of financial inclusion on employment creation in Botswana using quarterly time series data for the period 2004-2016. Using Autoregressive Distributed Lag (ARDL) model, we find that availability of bank branches, ownership of bank account and borrowing from the commercial bank have a positive impact on employment creation in the short run. Similarly, in the long run, availability of bank branches, ownership of bank account has a positive relationship with employment creation in the long run. Depositors with commercial banks has a negative bearing on employment creation, both in the short run and in the long run. Therefore, policies should be aimed at ensuring easy access into the financial sector by way of reducing costs associated with account opening as well as creating affordable deposit and borrowing windows to the financially excluded groups.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Employment, Finance, Financial Markets, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Botswana