Employment is key to expanding human capabilities and freedoms. We believe that both the quantity and quality of jobs should be a central focus of development policy.
The implicit assumption that economic growth will solve labour market problems, such as high unemployment or precarious employment, has meant that Latin American governments have persistently failed to treat labour issues as a policy priority. After all, if labour market outcomes are a fall-out of economic growth, then there seems little point in focusing scant public resources and political attention on matters that should resolve themselves.
However, the empirical evidence in natural resource rich Latin American countries has not borne out the theory. In the same way that there is not necessarily a correlation between strong economic growth rates and human development outcomes, growth rates and labour market outcomes are not automatically related either.
For there to be a strong positive correlation between economic growth and labour market outcomes, public policy must intervene. We believe that labour policy should be a pivotal component of development policy.
The Centre for New Development Thinking is committed to studying the role of labour and employment in the development process from a multidimensional perspective.