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Democracy, Governance and Human Rights Programme Paper 1: Pay and Employment Reform in Developing and Transition Societies

29 Aug 2000

  • Author(s): Willy McCourt


Pay and employment reform has been a significant phenomenon in developing and transition societies in recent years. This paper presents the background to reform—in terms of the significance of reform and the (sometimes differing) aims of governments and other actors, including donors—together with the political, economic and social influences on reform. Changes to the number and the remuneration of civil servants are analysed, and the instruments that brought about those changes are reviewed. Comparative material from the reform experience of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries is brought to bear.

The author discusses the experience of reform in the light of the Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development, with a particular emphasis on the impact of reform on workers, including those who are members of disadvantaged groups, and on the steps that governments have taken to alleviate negative impacts. The paper concludes with an overall assessment of the experience of reform.

Willy McCourt is affiliated with the Institute of Development Policy and Management of the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.

Order PPDGHR 1 from UNRISD ($5 for readers in the North; $2.50 for readers in the South).