Summary: Jobs are the cornerstone of economic and social development. Indeed, development happens through jobs. People work their way out of poverty and hardship through better livelihoods. Economies grow as people get better at what they do, as they move from farms to firms, and as more productive jobs are created and less productive ones disappear. Societies flourish as jobs bring together people from different ethnic and social backgrounds and nurture a sense of opportunity. Jobs are thus transformational-they can transform what we earn, what we do, and even who we are. Jobs are instrumental to achieving economic and social development. Beyond their critical importance for individual well-being, they lie at the heart of many broader societal objectives, such as poverty reduction, economy-wide productivity growth, and social cohesion. The world development report 2013 takes the centrality of jobs in the development process as its starting point and challenges and reframes how we think about work. Adopting a cross-sectoral and multidisciplinary approach, the report looks at why some jobs do more for development than others. The report finds that the jobs with the greatest development payoffs are those that make cities function better, connect the economy to global markets, protect the environment, foster trust and civic engagement, or reduce poverty. Critically, these jobs are not only found in the formal sector; depending on the country context, informal jobs can also be transformational. Overall, countries have been successful at creating jobs. More people have jobs now than ever before, and those jobs provide generally higher earnings. Indeed, amid rapid social and economic change, poverty has declined in developing countries. Jobs are vulnerable to economic downturns, though, much more so in the private sector than the public sector. Short-term crises may wipe out years of progress. They may start in a single country but now, through globalization, spread over entire regions or to the world.
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