|Employment is an accepted and important part of the growth process. But while there has been much attention on the process of creating jobs, knowledge of job quality, segmentation, and the link to poverty reduction remains limited. On June 19, 2006, the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction group sponsored a daylong workshop on the topic of “Rethinking the Role of Jobs in Shared Growth” at the Bank’s headquarters. Luca Barbone, Sector Director for Poverty Reduction at the Bank, chaired this opening session on “Employment in Low-Income Countries: Beyond Labor Market Segmentation.”
Gary Fields of Cornell University discussed the policy responses to low wage workers, and proposed a new kind of empirical work to take advantage of circumstances in each country’s labor market. He noted the qualitative differences between good jobs and bad jobs, and explained what he called “uncontroversial propositions” and their implications regarding employment policy. Peter Peek of the International Labour Organization responded to the presentation with further examination of the formal and informal sectors after globalization. He also highlighted job security as an important factor of good employment. Audience members asked questions about government-provided benefits, heterogeneity in workers themselves, and the mechanisms causing segmentation.