African countries are scrambling to bring industrial firms into the continent, and workers face a choice between industrial jobs and self-employment. This column reports the results of a randomised controlled trial of 1,000 job applicants in Ethiopia, which suggests that industrial workers earned no more in a year than those given training as entrepreneurs, and had higher disability rates. Two-thirds of industrial workers chose to quit, suggesting that low wages and poor working conditions are a concern for policymakers who promote industrialisation.
Christopher Blattman, Stefan Dercon, 20 December 2016
, 16 November 2016
The efficient use of inputs is essential to growth. Chang-Tai Hsieh explains why firms are more productive than others by comparing labour laws in India and the US. This video was recorded at the International Growth Centre.
Barbara Petrongolo, 15 August 2016
Immigration was at the heart of the Brexit debate. In this video, Barbara Petrongolo discusses different policies the UK could implement in terms of immigration. This video is part of the “Econ after Brexit” series organised by CEPR and was recorded on 14 July 2016.
Services are gaining ever more importance in global trade and employment. While there is increasing consensus that the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) represents an inadequate international framework for services trade governance, sound economic policy prescriptions to support ongoing multilateral negotiations remain scarce.
Meanwhile, recent and forthcoming preferential trade agreements like CETA, TiSA, TPP and TTIP are filling the void, with yet unpredictable and potentially significant effects on labour markets. Given the crucial role of the services sector as the world's largest purveyor of employment, gaining a sounder understanding of the nexus between trade policies, services and labour markets is hence of utmost importance.
To that end, this workshop invites submissions on research in the domain of services trade and its implications for the labour market. We are particularly interested in analyses that substantiate specific policy recommendations.
Joakim Ruist, 28 January 2016
The current inflow of refugees into Europe has left policymakers in disagreement over how to react. A major concern is the perceived financial burden that can result from large intakes. This column discusses the fiscal impact of refugees on the Swedish economy. The current net redistribution from the non-refugee population to refugees (excluding arrivals in 2015) is estimated to be 1.35% of GDP. The economic burden of a generous refugee policy is therefore not particularly heavy, especially if the host country incorporates them as quickly as possible into the labour market.
Patrick Arni, Rafael Lalive, Gerard Van den Berg, 11 January 2016
The standard empirical evaluations of labour market policy only consider the direct effects of single programmes on their participants. This column argues that this fails to capture important aspects of real-world labour market policy – policy regimes and strategies. Using Swiss data, it employs a novel empirical approach that concurrently examines the effects of supportive and punitive policies (‘carrots’ and ‘sticks’). Policy regimes are shown to exert economically relevant effects, and accounting for these effects is crucial when designing labour market policy.
Matthew Bloomfield, Ulf Brüggemann, Hans Christensen, Christian Leuz, 17 December 2015
Labour mobility is an important prerequisite for the efficiency of labour markets. In the EU, however, different standards across countries present an implicit economic barrier for high-skilled professionals. This column examines how the recent EU harmonisation of professional standards in accounting affected cross-border migration relative to other professionals. The harmonisation had a strong positive effect on accountants’ cross-border migration. Harmonisation could thus be a potentially powerful tool for policymakers seeking to improve labour market efficiency.
Paolo Manasse, 12 June 2015
Greece’s problem came from the bursting of a debt-financed growth bubble inflated with the help of EZ membership. This column argues that the inevitable adjustment was more painful than necessary. The fiscal consolidation was too tight and too front-loaded, and, importantly, structural reform wasn’t properly sequenced. By concentrating on labour market rather than product market reforms, the sharp wage fall could not be paralleled by a similar reduction in prices, and now soaring inequality is undermining support for needed reforms.
Ufuk Akcigit, Salome Baslandze, Stefanie Stantcheva, 27 April 2015
Taxing high earners is an issue of growing importance in many nations. One concern is that raising rates will lead high earners to move elsewhere. This column suggests that top-tier inventors are significantly affected by top tax rates when deciding where to live. The loss of these highly skilled agents could entail significant economic costs in terms of lost tax revenues and less overall innovation.
Bruno Frey, Jana Gallus, 21 March 2012
The world appears to be unfair. Those who are prettier earn a higher salary and are also happier. This column argues it is still not hopeless for those less blessed with looks. Appropriate clothing, hairstyles, and good teeth can help, as can choosing a profession where expertise is clearly central and beauty of less importance.
Pierre Cahuc, Stéphane Carcillo, 02 February 2011
In October 2007 France introduced an exemption on income tax and social security contributions for overtime work. In the second of two columns on the labour market, the authors show that this reform has had no significant impact on hours worked and that it induced workers and employers to manipulate the overtime hours they declare in order to optimise their tax situation.