Europe and Central Asia Knowledge Brief

67 items available

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This is a regular series of notes highlighting recent analyses, good practices, and lessons learned from the development work program of the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia Region.

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  • Publication
    Addressing the Gender Gap in Europe and Central Asia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-06) Sattar, Sarosh
    The Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region's relative advantage in gender equality compared to other regions eroded in the 1999-2009 period. As a result, the region now looks more similar to the rest of the world in terms of women's education and labor force participation. Moreover, gender gaps continue to exist in some minority communities and in poor rural areas. Structural changes in the economies of the region have both opened up economic and employment opportunities for women and reduced some avenues of prosperity for men. However, women's gains from such opportunities are limited as occupational segregation and wage gaps persist, despite comparable human capital endowments. The dramatic demographic changes affecting the ECA region, such as aging, have different implications for men and women. In particular, (i) old age poverty will especially affect women, and (ii) the shrinking labor force will make it necessary to stimulate the labor participation rate of women.
  • Publication
    Successful Education Reform : Lessons from Poland
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2010-11) Mahfooz, Sara Bin; Hovde, Kate
    Poland's education reforms have produced a large overall improvement in educational performance, as measured by results on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). Before 1999, primary school in Poland was 8 years, followed by tracking into vocational or academic programs. Now, the primary cycle has been changed to six years, followed by three years of comprehensive lower secondary school or gymnasium for all students, before a vocational tracking decision is made. Increased hours of instruction and delayed tracking of students into the vocational education stream were the most important factors in the improvement of test scores. In 2000, only one percent of polish students received more than four hours of language class, while in 2006, 76 percent of students received more than four hours of language class.
  • Publication
    Enhancing the Employment Chances of Roma
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-03) Bodewig, Christian
    Roma communities in central and southeastern Europe have a history of being excluded from the labor market and still face severe barriers to employment. Besides being marginalized socially, Roma were typically the first to lose their jobs at the outset of the post-communist transition. Many in their next generation grew up in unemployed households, with low educational attainments and limited job skills. The labor market exclusion of Roma persisted even through the years of buoyant economic growth and increasing employment levels prior to the economic slowdown triggered by the global financial crisis in 2008. Many governments in central and southeastern Europe are trying to address the unemployment problem of Roma and other disadvantaged groups by introducing measures to restrict or cut welfare benefit entitlements, so as to strengthen incentives to work. However, research by the World Bank and others shows that simply cutting benefits is unlikely to result in higher employment the labor market exclusion and social marginalization of Roma is a multifaceted issue, and their communities face multidimensional barriers to employment. A more effective way to promote employment among Roma (and other disadvantaged groups) is the employment activation approach increasingly being introduced across many countries in the European Union and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This approach balances the mutual obligations of jobseekers and state employment offices in order to secure the successful integration of the most disadvantaged workers.