The World Bank’s World Development Report, published annually since 1978, is an invaluable guide to the economic, social, and environmental state of the world today. Each report provides in-depth analysis and policy recommendations on a specific and important aspect of development—from agriculture, the role of the state, transition economies, and labor to infrastructure, health, the environment, and poverty. Through the quality and timeliness of the information it provides, the report has become a highly influential publication that is used by many multilateral and bilateral international organizations, national governments, scholars, civil society networks and groups, and other global thought leaders to support their decision-making processes. This corporate flagship undergoes extensive internal and external review and is one of the key outputs of the World Bank's Development Economics unit.
Jobs provide higher earnings and better benefits as countries grow, but they
are also a driver of development. Poverty falls as people work their way out
of hardship and as jobs empowering women lead to greater investments
in children. Efficiency increases as workers get better at what they do, as more
productive jobs appear, and less productive ones disappear. Societies flourish
as jobs bring together people from different ethnic and social backgrounds
and provide alternatives to conflict. Jobs are thus more than a byproduct of
economic growth. They are transformational—they are what we earn, what
we do, and even who we are.
High unemployment and unmet job expectations among youth are the most
immediate concerns. But in many developing countries, where farming and
self-employment are prevalent and safety nets are modest at best, unemployment
rates can be low. In these countries, growth is seldom jobless. Most of
the poor work long hours but simply cannot make ends meet. And the
violation of basic rights is not uncommon. Therefore, the number of jobs
is not all that matters: jobs with high development payoffs are needed.
Confronted with these challenges, policy makers ask difficult questions.
Should countries build their development strategies around growth, or
should they focus on jobs? Can entrepreneurship be fostered, especially
among the many microenterprises in developing countries, or are entrepreneurs
born? Are greater investments in education and training a prerequisite
for employability, or can skills be built through jobs? In times of major crises
and structural shifts, should jobs, not just workers, be protected? And is there
a risk that policies supporting job creation in one country will come at the
expense of jobs in other countries?
The World Development Report 2013: Jobs offers answers to these and other
difficult questions by looking at jobs as drivers of development—not as
derived labor demand—and by considering all types of jobs—not just formal
wage employment. The Report provides a framework that cuts across sectors
and shows that the best policy responses vary across countries, depending
on their levels of development, endowments, demography, and institutions.
Policy fundamentals matter in all cases, as they enable a vibrant private sector,
the source of most jobs in the world. Labor policies can help as well, even
if they are less critical than is often assumed. Development policies, from
making smallholder farming viable to fostering functional cities to engaging
in global markets, hold the key to success.