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World Development Report 2013: jobs drive development

Time (GMT +00) 12:30 14:00
Image credit:Antony Robbins

athleen Beegle - Deputy Director, 2013 World Development Report, The World Bank
Dena Ringold - Senior Economist and core team, 2013 World Development Report, The World Bank

Stefan Dercon - Chief Economist, DFID
Pedro Martins - Research Fellow, GPIP, ODI

Andy Norton 
- Research Director, ODI


Jobs are center stage across the globe – in developed and developing countries alike. Worldwide 200 million people, a disproportionate share of them youth, are unemployed and actively looking for work. And some 620 million youth, the majority of them women, are neither working nor looking for work. Just to keep employment rates constant, around 600 million new jobs will have to be created over a 15-year period. However, in many developing countries, unemployment rates can be low. Safety nets are modest are best, and only a majority of workers are wage earners.  More than 3 billion people are working worldwide, but almost half of them are farmers or self-employed. Most of their poor work long hours but simply cannot make ends meet. The violation of basic rights at work is not uncommon.

The World Development Report 2013 looks at jobs as drivers of development — not as derived labor demand — and considers all types of jobs —not just formal wage employment. The report shows that much of what we care about in development happens through jobs. Poverty falls as people work their way out of hardship and as jobs empowering women lead to greater investments in children. Efficiency increases as workers get better at what they do, as more productive jobs appear, and less productive ones disappear. Societies flourish as jobs bring together people from different ethnic and social backgrounds and provide alternatives to conflict.  Jobs are thus more than a byproduct of economic growth.  They are transformational —they are what we earn, what we do, and even who we are.

Jobs are created mainly by the private sector, but public policy sets the stage to enhance job creation, and especially the creation of good jobs for development. The World Development Report 2013 articulates an agenda for job creation. The role of government is to ensure that the conditions are in place for strong private-sector-led growth, to understand why there are not more good jobs for development in a particular country, and to remove or mitigate the constraints that prevent the creation of more of those jobs. But which jobs are more transformational depends on a country's level of development, its demography, its resource endowments and its institutions.