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Economists & Policy Makers from G20 Countries Gather to Discuss Employment Trends and Issues

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Jobs have been at the center of the policy debate around the world.

Economists and policy makers from the G20 countries gathered at NYU for a two-day, deep-dive on employment this September.

Hosted by NYU Stern and the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), and with support from the World Bank and the Department for International Development, the workshop entitled, “Employment – Global and Country Perspectives,” explored a number of trends and issues including:
  • Structure of the American economy and stagnant wages
  • South Africa’s labor market conditions
  • Jobs policies in Latin America
  • Employment perspectives in Chile
  • Lessons learned from Germany’s labor market
  • Labor relations in the Netherlands
  • Employment in China
  • Future prospects for urban employment in India
  • Growth and employment in Singapore
  • Equality of opportunity in the Middle East and North Africa
Nobel Laureate Professor Michael Spence (left) chaired the workshop.

Workshop participants represented a number of prominent organizations from around the world including NYU Stern, ICRIER, the World Bank, Brookings Institution, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Central Bank of Tunisia, Council for Foreign Relations, Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, The Economist magazine, Harvard University, India’s Office of the Prime Minister, International Monetary Fund, Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Korea Development Institute, McKinsey & Company, South Africa’s National Treasury and the University of Pennsylvania.

2011 Workshop on Global Employment Trends

Participants reflected on this year’s workshop:

"Unemployment is the most significant cause of distress in poor countries,” said Dr. Duvvuri Subbarao, governor of the Reserve Bank of India. “Both in the short-term and in the medium-term, jobs have been at the center of the policy debate around the world. The symposium stimulated a critical conversation amongst policy makers and academics from emerging and advanced economies – both having much to learn from each other."

“We recognize trade, we recognize globalization of finance, but we don't recognize globalization of labor so much,” explained Nobel Laureate Professor Michael Spence. “Since the 90's, China (since 80's) and India joined the world labor markets and that contributed enormously to raising productivity levels across the world. But it has also presented new distributional challenges, ones that are different from the past. These now need to be addressed in a wide range of countries, advanced and developing."

“India is the second-fastest growing economy in the world, after China, but this rapid growth hasn't had the sort of expected effect on employment,” explained Ajit Ghose of the Institute for Human Development. “We still have traditional, low-productivity employment overwhelmingly dominant in the economy.”

Parthasarathi Shome of ICRIER warned that, “Converting university degrees to employable youth is a major challenge.”

"This meeting correctly singled out the goal that all governments should be striving to achieve – Every adult should have a chance to work in a formal sector job,” said Professor Paul Romer.