Conference: “Employment and Development – Technological Change and Jobs”

On June 4-5, 2015, Center for Research and Studies GEA attended the 10th international conference on employment and development, organized by the World Bank and Institute for the Studies of Labor (IZA) in Bonn (Germany).

This year’s conference focused on the link between technological changes and jobs. Over the past decades, new technologies have brought remarkable improvements in standards of living and productivity of developing as well as advanced countries, although the impacts of technology on the life of workers in developing countries are quite different from those in advanced economies. In low income countries, in particular, new technologies are not sufficient to replace major gaps in infrastructure and investment in basic public goods. Still, technological change has transformed, and will continue to transform, labor markets, bringing both benefits and challenges to workers and their families. On one hand, new technologies, particularly new information and communication technologies, have displaced jobs (or replaced skills) that can be better performed by computers; for instance, tasks that are repetitive and easy to codify. On the other hand, new technologies have unleashed many new opportunities for investment and job creation, not only in countries at the technological frontier but also in many developing and emerging economies.

Another interesting topic much discussed about at the conference was the issue of migrations, which represents a great social, economic and also political question, both for emigration and immigration countries. It was interesting to witness how emigration countries had different attitudes on this phenomenon, so for some countries emigration has practically become “the main development strategy”. Tajikistan was stated as an example where, due to massive job-related emigrations, annual transfers from abroad make 40% of the country’s GDP. Some researchers stated Albania as an example of “circular migrations”, where emigrants return to their home country after a certain period and start their own business enterprises.

At the conference, representatives of the World Bank presented the results of a comprehensive analysis on the long-term effects of youth training programs. This analysis included a large number of training programs and it was an attempt to assess their influence on the employment and business career development of those who participated in them. The analysis determined that the long-term effects of youth training programs were positive and statistically important, and that effects on employment were greater in developing countries, as well as that entrepreneurship-related programs achieved better results than those in the area of support to employment.