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Events: 2011

2011 | 2012

Launch of OECD report “Perspectives on Global Development 2012: Social Cohesion in a Shifting World”
December 13, 2011
This event was jointly organized by the Infoshop, the OECD, and the WDR2013 Team.

Presenters: Johannes P. Jütting, Head of Unit, Poverty Reduction and Social Development Group, OECD Development Center, and Juan Ramón de Laiglesia, Economist, Poverty Reduction and Social Development Group, OECD Development Center.

Abstract: Over the past decade, output growth in developing countries and emerging-market economies has outpaced the OECD average by a wide margin. However, opinion polls show that in some countries sustained growth, rising living standards and human development have not necessarily led to improvements in life satisfaction. To a large extent, this is due to growing inequality, limited possibilities for participation in society, high youth unemployment and persistent informality in the labour market, all of which undermine social cohesion.

The OECD's new Perspectives on Global Development: Social Cohesion in a Shifting World shows that the time is now ripe for the fast-growing countries to take advantage of their new prosperity to advance an ambitious social cohesion agenda. This involves improving people's wellbeing, fighting against exclusion, and creating opportunities for upward social mobility.

Related Links:  Press Release (pdf) | Presentation (693 KB pdf)

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The Trade-off Between Unemployment and Inflation
December 6, 2011

Presenter: David Blanchflower, Professor of Economics, Dartmouth College

Abstract: Previous literature has found that both unemployment and inflation lower happiness. The macroeconomist Arthur Okun characterised the negative effects of unemployment and inflation by the misery index - the sum of the unemployment and inflation rates. This paper extends the literature by looking at more countries over a longer time period. We find, conventionally, that both higher unemployment and higher inflation lower happiness. We also discover that unemployment depresses well-being more than inflation. We characterise this wellbeing tradeoff between unemployment and inflation using what we describe as the misery ratio. Our estimates with European data imply that a one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate lowers well being by two and a half times as much as a one percentage point increase in the inflation rate.

Related Links:  Paper (446KB pdf) | Presentation (520 KB pdf)

Jobs Debate
November 28, 2011
This event was jointly organized by the HDN Knowledge Management Team, the Jobs Knowledge Platform, and the WDR2013 Team.

Presenters: Richard Freeman and Danny Leipziger speaking for the motion, and Steen Jorgensen and Carmen Pagés-Serra against the motion.

About: The suggested motion for this debate is "This house believes that job-protection policies and programs, not the protection of people, is the best way to stimulate economic growth, particularly in times of economic crises".

Informal Employment: Recent Trends and Policy Responses
November 22, 2011
This event was jointly organized by OPCS Country Services Nordic Trust Funds  and the WDR2013 Team.

Presenter: Martha Chen, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School and International Coordinator, WIEGO Network

About: Martha Chen is a Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and International Coordinator of the global research-policy-action network Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO). An experienced development practitioner and scholar, her areas of specialization are employment, gender, and poverty with a focus on the working poor in the informal economy. Before joining Harvard in 1987, she had two decades of resident experience in Bangladesh working with BRAC (now the world's largest non-governmental organization), and in India where she served as field representative of Oxfam America for India and Bangladesh. Dr. Chen received a Ph.D. in South Asia Regional Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of numerous books including The Progress of the World's Women 2005: Women, Work and Poverty (co-authored with Joann Vanek, Francie Lund, James Heintz, Renana Jhabvala and Chris Bonner), Mainstreaming Informal Employment and Gender in Poverty Reduction (co-authored with Joann Vanek and Marilyn Carr), Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A Statistical Picture (co-authored with Joann Vanek) and Perpetual Mourning: Widowhood in Rural India.

Related Links: Presentation  (71 KB pdf) | Webpage

Playing Games Identity and Social Exclusion in Labor Markets
November 22, 2011
This event was jointly organized by the Social Development Department and the WDR2013 Team.

Presenter: Pablo Suarez

About: You are cordially invited to help us test a simulation game. The game explores identity and social exclusion in labor markets using an interactive format. In this game, players are situated in a fictional labor market context in which they experience advances and setbacks that are rooted in their identity. Players take on different genders, ethnic identities, and political party affiliations and seek to accumulate education and acquire jobs in a fictive world in which they lack full transparency in how their identity affects their ability to get jobs. The game play will take around 45 minutes, and will be followed by discussion of how the game might be improved to better illustrate salient aspects of discrimination and social exclusion in labor markets.

Related Links: Webpage

Cross-Country Differences in Productivity: The Role of Allocation and Selection
November 17, 2011

Presenter: John Haltiwanger, Professor of Economics, University of Maryland

Abstract: The paper investigates the effect of idiosyncratic (firm-level) policy distortions on aggregate outcomes. Exploiting harmonized firm-level data for a number of countries, we show that there is substantial systematic cross-country variation in the within-industry covariance between size and productivity. We develop a model in which heterogeneous firms face adjustment friction (overhead labor and quasi-fixed capital) and distortions. The model can be readily calibrated so that variations in the distribution of distortions allow matching the observed cross-country moments. We show that the differences in the distortions that account for the size-productivity covariance imply substantial differences in aggregate performance.

Related Links:  Paper

Labor Reallocation in Response to Trade Reform
Monday, October 3, 2011

Presenter: Marc-Andreas Muendler, Associate Professor of Economics at the University of San Diego, and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Abstract: Tracking individual workers across jobs after Brazil's trade liberalization in the 1990s shows that tariff cuts trigger worker displacements, but neither exporters nor comparative-advantage sectors absorb trade-displaced labor. On the contrary, exporters separate from significantly more and hire fewer workers than the average employer. Trade liberalization increases transitions to services, unemployment, and out of the labor force. Results are consistent with faster labor productivity growth than sales expansions so that output shifts to more productive firms while labor does not. Higher rates of failed reallocations and longer durations of complete reallocations result, associated with a costly incidence of idle resources.

Related Links: Paper (230 KB pdf)

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