Journal articles

Roberts, Gareth and Schöer, Volker (2017) Is there a trade-off between the employment and wages of unskilled African South Africans? Development Southern Africa

Abstract: The possible trade-off between employment and wages has characterised most of South Africa’s labour market debates, particularly with regards to decent wages versus unemployment. In this article we explore the relationship between labour market earnings and the level of employment among African birth cohorts using labour force data from 1997 to 2011. We find that the association between an increase in the proportion of unskilled employed in a birth cohort and earnings is mediated by the sector of employment. While some sectors exhibit the expected negative association, there is a robust positive relationship between the first two quartiles of the earnings distribution within birth cohorts and the proportion of the birth cohort who are employed in unskilled occupations in the manufacturing and trade sectors. Because a range of market forces determine this relationship, further research is needed to unpack the reasons for such varied outcomes in order to better inform the debates on labour market interventions like the proposed National Minimum Wage and to appreciate the potential impact of such policy interventions on wages and employment.


Häberli, Christian (2016) An International Regulatory Framework for National Employment Policies, Journal of World Trade, 50(2): 167-192

Abstract: Employment-related policies are sensitive by any standard, and they remain basically national despite international labour standards (ILS) being even older than the United Nations. Globalization is changing this situation where countries may have to choose between ‘more’ or ‘better’ jobs. The multilateral framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO) can only have an indirect impact. But Regional Trade Agreements (RTA) and International Investment Agreements (IIA) are emerging as a new way of gradually enhancing the impact of certain labour standards. In addition, unilateral measures both by governments and importers driven by social and environmental consumer preferences and pressure groups increasingly shape the international regulatory framework for national employment policies. Even small, locally operating enterprises risk marginalization and market exclusion by ignoring these developments. The long-term influence of this new ‘network approach’ on employment-related policies, including job location, gender issues, social coherence and migration remains to be seen. Nonetheless, the still flimsy evidence gathered here seems to indicate that this new, international framework might increase sustainable employment where and when supporting measures, including through unilateral preferences and even sanctions, form a ‘cocktail’ which export-oriented industries and their suppliers will find palatable.


Koçer, Rüya Gökhan (2015) Two Worlds of Minimum Wage and a New Research Agenda, Real-World Economics Review, 73: 58-75 

Abstract: Under the conditions of advanced capitalism minimum wage is the statutory lowest boundary for remuneration that is directly relevant for a small group of people who are not protected by the other components of the system. In developmental context, however, firms do not exactly comply with minimum wage but it may still act like a lighthouse (beacon) positively affecting all wages across both formal and informal sectors even without being effectively enforced. Consequently, vast majority of population may be influenced by minimum wage dynamics. Therefore while under the conditions of advanced capitalism the name and nature of minimum wage coincide, in developmental context this is no longer the case. Although its name remains the same its nature is different: it is neither minimum nor wage but a signal that may become the reference price for the fair value of labor across entire economy. This suggest that minimum wage and people’s sense of fairness may be linked.  The research has been overlooking these peculiarities and analyzing minimum wage in developmental context on the basis of assumptions derived from the conditions of advanced capitalism. This approach makes us overlook interesting dynamics triggered by minimum wage across “developing” countries. I propose a new approach to minimum wage that would recognize its different nature in developmental context and would scrutinize its role in legitimation dynamics and its relationship with social cost of labor. This approach would open new avenues for research and prevent us from asking wrong questions.


Amjad, R., Chandrasiri, S., Nathan, D., Raihan, S., Yusuf, A. (2015) “What Holds Back Manufacturing in South Asia”, Economic & Political Weekly, L no 10, 1.

Abstract: The recent South Asian (other than that of Bangladesh) experience of a growing merchandise trade deficit and the challenge of job creation have forced attention back on the role of manufacturing. Bangladesh has been able to successfully capture a large share of the global exports of ready-made garments, driven by low labour costs. Sri Lanka has become a major producer of middle- to high-end lingerie, though its overall export performance has weakened in recent years. In contrast, India and Pakistan have been proportionately less successful as exporters of manufactures. What are the commonalities and differences among these countries in the South Asian region? What set of policies will help the growth of manufacturing in these countries?


Rakotomanana, Faly Hery (2015) “Efficiency of informal production units and its determinants: applying the quantile regression method in the case of Antananarivo”,  Routledge Studies in Development Economics, 112, 131.

Abstract: This study has the aim of analyzing the technical efficiency of the informal micro-enterprises and its determinants in the case of the agglomeration of Antananarivo in Madagascar by using the data bases resulting from a series of investigation of the type 1-2-3 on the informal sector carried out in 2001 and 2004. The method of quantile regression is adopted in the models to take account of the strong disparities of the units in terms of performances. The degree of efficiency of the informal microenterprises is on average about 33,5% in 2004 and 33,8% in 2001.The factors influencing the efficiency also differ according to the branch.


Nguyen, Tu Anh, Nguyen, Thu Thuy (2014) “Restructuring process in Vietnam: The road map and initial results”, External Economics Review, 65, 3-15.

Abstract: Restructuring in Vietnam has become a critical necessity to ensure efficiency and stability, especially in the context of long-lasting recession in the economy as a whole. This paper reviews Vietnam’s economic growth model to point out the demand for restructuring the key blocks of the economy. The paper also discusses the road map for Vietnam’s restructuring process and synthesizes the initial achievements of the process so far.