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Main report, Volume 2
Author:Packard, Truman G.; Nguyen, Trang Van; Country:East Asia and Pacific;
Date Stored:2014/05/26Document Date:2014/01/01
Document Type:PublicationSubTopics:Economic Theory & Research; Banks & Banking Reform; Labor Markets; Labor Policies; Population Policies
Major Sector:Education; Public Administration, Law, and Justice; Health and other social services; Industry and tradeRel. Proj ID:4E-Eap Jobs Aaa Program -- -- P129623;
Region:East Asia and PacificReport Number:88174
Sub Sectors:Other social services; General education sector; General industry and trade sector; General public administration sectorCollection Title:World Bank East Asia and Pacific regional report
Volume No:2  

Summary: The contribution of work to growth and household well-being is a growing concern in East Asia Pacific. The labor share of gross domestic product (GDP) in several countries in the region has been declining. Specific problems include high youth inactivity and unemployment, rising inequality, and binding skills shortages. A key underlying issue is widespread economic informality, which increases household vulnerability to shocks, limits the tax base, and constrains innovation and the productivity of firms and the economy as a whole. Informality is both a consequence of relatively stringent labor regulations and a reason for their widespread evasion. Key components of the appropriate policy response include macroeconomic stability and a regulatory framework that encourages, in particular, the growth of small and medium enterprises where most people in East Asia Pacific work. It is also critical to 'formalize' more work, in order to increase the coverage of essential work-risk and social protection and to sustain growth. To this end, policies should encourage mobility of labor and human capital and not favor some forms of employment (for instance, full-time wage employment in manufacturing) over others. East Asia Pacific is one of the most diverse regions in the world. The challenges to sustaining well-being from work are just as diverse. Countries that are still mainly agrarian should focus on raising agricultural productivity. Rapidly urbanizing countries should address the critical need for good urban planning. The Pacific island countries should provide young people with the human capital they need to succeed abroad as migrant workers.

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