UNU-WIDER at International Economic Association World Congress

UNU-WIDER at International Economic Association World Congress

UNU-WIDER’s research project The changing nature of work and inequality has a special live session at the IEA World Congress Indonesia 2021. Finn Tarp and Miguel Niño-Zarazúa also present on ‘The Role of Redistribution in the Inequality–Growth–Poverty Relationship: Implications for Africa s Development’ in another session on 4 July. The IEA’s World Congress is one of the largest gatherings of its kind and brings people from all over the world to discuss their research and policy issues of mutual concern and to address and debate the big economic and policy challenges of our time. Expect vibrant discussion as usual and engagement with new ideas. The theme of the 2021 World Congress is ‘Equity, Sustainability and Prosperity in a Fractured World’.

Session: Inequality and Structural Transformation: The Labour Market Effects of Technological Change in Emerging Economies

Chair: Haroon Bhorat (University of Cape Town)

Opening remarks: Kunal Sen (UNU-WIDER)


Simone Schotte (UNU-WIDER) — PAPER 1 | The Country-Specific Task Content of Jobs: Measurement and Predictions

Kanika Mahajan (Ashoka University, India) — PAPER 2 | Changing Occupational Structure and Skills in India: Implications for Employment and Wage Inequality

Amy Thornton (DRPU, University of Cape Town, South Africa) — PAPER 3 | The Rise of the Missing Middle in an Emerging Economy: The Case of South Africa

Details: MONDAY, 5 JULY 2021

09:00–10:00 EDT | 16:00–17:00 Helsinki | 20:00–21:00 Jakarta


A key issue in development economics is the effects of the twin forces of trade and technology on labour market outcomes. Since a crucial feature of the current wave of globalization is the movement of jobs with routine tasks from developed to developing countries — such as the ‘outsourcing’ of factory jobs to China and computer programming jobs to India — the effect of trade and technology on labour market outcomes should be looked at jointly. In this approach, the task content of occupations is at the forefront of understanding inequality outcomes. Because occupational change is a function of structural change, this approach also explores the connection between structural change and inequality. Our project on The changing nature of work and inequality adds substantively to a growing body of literature that explores the link between the evolution of occupational structure in emerging economies and levels of earnings inequality. It examines the effects of routine-biased technological change, alongside conventional explanations for earnings inequality, on labour markets in 11 emerging economies across Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

19th IEA World Congress: The 19th World Congress of the International Economic Association was to be held in Bali, Indonesia in July 2020, but the pandemic postponed it to July 2021, to be held online. Plenary sessions and a selection of invited sessions are online via Zoom between 2-6 July, while other invited sessions and contributed papers are recorded in advance and uploaded to the conference website.