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Migrating to Opportunity : Overcoming Barriers to Labor Mobility in Southeast Asia

Mauro Testaverde; Harry Moroz; Claire H Hollweg; Achim Schmillen.

World Bank 2017.

The movement of people in Southeast Asia is an issue of increasing importance. Countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are now the origin of 8 percent of the world’s migrants. These countries host only 4 percent of the world’s migrants but intra-regional migration has turned Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand into regional migration hubs that are home to 6.5 million ASEAN migrants. However, significant international and domestic labor mobility costs limit the ability of workers to change firms, sectors, and geographies in ASEAN.

This report takes an innovative approach to estimate the costs for workers to migrate internationally. Singapore and Malaysia have the lowest international labor mobility costs in ASEAN while workers migrating to Myanmar and Vietnam have the highest costs. Singapore and Malaysia’s more developed migration systems are a key reason for their lower labor mobility costs.

How easily workers can move to take advantage of new opportunities is important in determining how they fare under the increased economic integration planned for ASEAN. To study this question, the report simulates how worker welfare is affected by enhanced trade integration under different scenarios of labor mobility costs. Region-wide, worker welfare would be 14 percent higher if barriers to mobility were reduced for skilled workers, and an additional 29 percent if barriers to mobility were lowered for all workers.

Weaknesses in migration systems increase international labor mobility costs, but policy reforms can help. Destination countries should work toward systems that are responsive to economic needs and consistent with domestic policies. Sending countries should balance protections for migrant workers with the needs of economic development.

url – https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/28342/9781464811067.pdf
courtesy – The World Bank


The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme: A Policy Solution to Rural Poverty in India?

Carley-Jane Stanton, Nurmaiya Brady, John Pattison-Williams, E.D. King, Chudhury Mishra, and Brent Swallow
Development Policy Review, Volume 35, Issue 3, May 2017, Pages 397–417 (Open Access)

Abstract: The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) was developed by the Indian government to reduce rural poverty through 100 days of guaranteed employment per year. Using focus group methods, we explore whether this scheme has provided rights’ based social protection through guaranteed employment for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Odisha. We found that the experiences of participating in MGNREGA varied depending on how MGNREGA wages compared to market wages in the region, as well as local implementation of the program. Although MGNREGA offered some basic employment for marginalized groups, it did not provide substantial help to the most vulnerable. However, there was some evidence of small but significant shifts in labour relations. Higher wages, more opportunities for work, better implementation and a greater recognition of the caregiving responsibilities of women will be required for this policy to fully meet its goals.

url – http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/dpr.12220/abstract
courtesy – Wiley

Determinants of workers’ remittances: An empirical investigation for a panel of eleven developing Asian economies Authors

Hrushikesh Mallick
The World Economy, July 2017

We explore the key motives of migrant workers’ remittances from abroad for 11 major Asian migrant-sending countries. Using panel regressions, we find that relative higher growth rate, interest rate and capital market returns of home over the host, investment, financial deepening at home have significant impact on remittance inflows into Asia, along with higher per capita incomes and international crude oil prices. With incorporation of per capita incomes and lagged impact of remittances, we observe an emergence of consumption motives to remit. Therefore, we conclude that both investment and altruistic motives are the driving forces for remittances inflows into the Asian economies.

url – http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/twec.12519/full
courtesy – Wiley


International Labour Organization 2016

The World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2016 was prepared jointly by the Job Friendly Macroeconomic Policies Unit (led by Ekkehard Ernst) and the Policy Assessment Unit (led by Steven
Tobin) of the ILO Research Department.

The world economy is estimated to have expanded by 3.1 per cent in 2015, over half a percentage point less than had been projected a year earlier. If current policy responses are maintained, the outlook is for continued economic weakening, posing significant challenges to enterprises and workers. Indeed, over the next two years, the world economy is projected to grow by only around 3 per cent,
significantly less than before the advent of the global crisis.
The continuing slowdown in economic growth is being driven by weakness in emerging and developing countries. China is facing a pronounced slowdown. This, combined with other factors, has contributed to a steep decline in commodity prices, particularly those related to energy. This situation has, in turn, affected large emerging economy commodity exporters, such as Brazil and the Russian Federation, which have entered a period of recession. The benefits accruing to net commodity importers have been insufficient to offset the decline affecting exporters. Another sign of economic weakness is the fact that global trade, which had typically expanded twice as fast as the global economy, is now growing in line with or at a lower rate than global growth.

read more here …
courtesy – ILO

Building America’s Skilled Technical Workforce

National Academies Press, 2017

Skilled technical occupations—defined as occupations that require a high level of knowledge in a technical domain but do not require a bachelor’s degree for entry—are a key component of the U.S. economy. In response to globalization and advances in science and technology, American firms are demanding workers with greater proficiency in literacy and numeracy, as well as strong interpersonal, technical, and problem-solving skills. However, employer surveys and industry and government reports have raised concerns that the nation may not have an adequate supply of skilled technical workers to achieve its competitiveness and economic growth objectives.

In response to the broader need for policy information and advice, Building America’s Skilled Technical Workforce examines the coverage, effectiveness, flexibility, and coordination of the policies and various programs that prepare Americans for skilled technical jobs. This report provides action-oriented recommendations for improving the American system of technical education, training, and certification.

read more here …
courtesy – NAP

The endogenous skill bias of technical change and wage inequality in developing countries

The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Volume 25, 2016 – Issue 8

This paper draws on existing empirical literature and an original theoretical model to argue that technical change does not have to be skill-biased in developing countries. Instead, the extent to which technology adoption in developing countries favors skilled workers depends on a number of factors. Free trade induces technology that favors skilled workers in skill-abundant developing countries and that favors unskilled workers in skill-scarce developing countries, and therefore amplifies the predicted wage effects of trade liberalization. Developing countries experience technical change that is skill-biased when imported skill-biased technologies become relatively cheaper. Increased skill supply further biases technical change in favor of skilled labor. These features aid our understanding of the observed rises in inequality within developing countries, the absence of a significant downward effect of expanded educational attainment on skill premia, and the differential effects of trade liberalization on inequality.

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09638199.2016.1193887

Courtesy: T&F

The Future of Work

Arun Sundararajan.
Finance & Development, June 2017, Vol. 54, No. 2

The digital economy will sharply erode the traditional employer-employee relationship

read more here …http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2017/06/sundararajan.htm
courtesy – IMF