Climbing the jobs ladder

Presentation at the World Bank of forthcoming UNU-WIDER book

Climbing the job ladder – presentation at the World Bank of forthcoming UNU-WIDER book

On 26 September, Kunal Sen and co-editor Tim Gindling, visit the World Bank to present key findings and policy lessons in the first presentation of the forthcoming book 'The Job Ladder. Transforming informal work and livelihoods in developing countries' edited by Gary S. Fields, T.H. Gindling, Kunal Sen, Michael Danquah, and Simone Schotte.
The good jobs challenge in developing countries: examining formality and informality with a jobs ladder approach.

Most jobs in low-income countries are in self-employment or unpaid family work in agriculture or services. Labour markets in developing countries are characterized by high levels of informal work. But with development comes a transformation in the jobs people do; a rise in the non-agricultural and waged shares of employment, urbanization, and increased formality.

Early literature modeling labour markets in developing countries, characterized dualism in terms of formal and informal employment. Formal employment was seen as offering relatively attractive wages and working conditions, while informal employment offered relatively unattractive pay and conditions.

More recent empirical work suggests labour markets in developing countries are more multi-layered, and jobs and labour earnings are heterogenous. Workers can either be in wage employment or self-employment, which can exist within both formal and informal employment. Informal employment has its own duality, waged- and self-employed informal workers can face capital or skill requirements which differentiate upper-tier from lower-tier informal employment.

Do some workers move up the tiers over time into better jobs? Who are they? Faced with labour market heterogeneity, what should policymakers focus on to nurture better jobs for more people with growth and structural transformation?

Drawing on research and analysis from The jobs ladder, this presentation introduces the concept of a jobs ladder for developing countries based on the employment type, formality, and entry requirements to jobs. Further, they will explore evidence of worker transitions between the tiers of the ladder using panel labour force survey data.


(UTC-04:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)

12:00-12:05 Opening remarks by Ian Walker, Manager and Lead Economist, Jobs Group on behalf of the World Bank Jobs Group
12.05-12.30 Presentations of findings by Kunal Sen and Tim Gindling
12.30-12.40 Comments by Dino Merotto, Lead Economist, Jobs Group, World Bank
12.40-12.45 Comments by Nistha Sinha, Senior Economist, Poverty and Equity Global Practice, World Bank
12.45-13.25 Q&A
13:25-13:30 Closing remarks by Benu Bidani, Interim Global Director, Poverty and Equity Global Practice, World Bank