Working Paper
Unemployment, Labour Policies and Health in Transition

Evidence from Kazakhstan

A sharp rise in unemployment and a sharp rise in mortality have been two recurrent aspects of the process of transition. In response to the unemployment challenge transitional economies have equipped themselves with labour market policies (LMPs) derived from market economies experiences. This has been done in a rather homogenous fashion across the transitional spectrum irrespective of the profound existing differences between Central and Eastern European (CEEs) economies and Commonwealth of Independent States (CISs) labour markets. This calls for a reconsideration of LMPs when labour market, macro and microeconomic conditions present substantial peculiarities. It is argued that, in economies particularly depressed where growth constraints lie in the disruption and disorganization of production, LMPs focused on the demand side rather than on the supply side of the labour market can be a better policy instrument by achieving multiple objectives at the same time. In the light of the current social and health outcome visible in Kazakhstan, there are strong arguments to support a diversification of both aims and beneficiaries of LMPs