1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Special Events (2000 - 2009)

Employment, Economic Development and Poverty Reduction: Critical Issues and Policy Challenges (Draft)



This paper is concerned with the structure of employment, economic development, and poverty - including the role of policy in enhancing or undermining the material well-being of individuals who must work in order to survive. Three broad themes are highlighted: first, that employment cannot be taken for granted. There is no guarantee that economic growth or a particular pattern of development (e.g. industrialization) will necessarily lead to sustained improvements in employment. Second, policy is critical for realizing better quality employment. The free market orientation of much development policy over the past several decades has been associated with expanding labour market inequalities, persistent informalization, and the emergence of non-standard and precarious forms of employment in many countries around the world. However, there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach to employment policy-effective interventions will depend on the structure of employment and the particular institutional and economic context. Third, the critical institutions and policies that determine the relationship between employment and poverty often lie outside of the labour market itself.