Employment Guarantee Policies: Theory and Practice
A Conference of The Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
The focus of this conference is on government policy initiatives that can create a safety net through public service employment for individuals who are ready, willing, and able to work but find themselves in an economic environment that does not offer employment opportunities.
Our premise is that unemployment and involuntary "inactivity" are structural macroeconomic problems of both developed and developing economies. The negative effects of unemployment reach beyond the immediate economic losses to individuals and their families and to the potential growth of the economy. Joblessness is often accompanied by poor health and psychological problems, depreciation of human capital, social exclusion, and overall lack of motivation for future work.
Protracted periods of unemployment lead to multidimensional poverty, deterioration of communities, erosion of decent job conditions, and intolerance along racial and gender divides. There appears a connection, then, between the right to work and the role of government in guaranteeing employment, and this ought to be part of the public policy dialogue
In this conference academics and policy analysts present research findings and exchange views on:
- Past and current country-level experiences of employment guarantee programs
- Public service employment and price stability
- Public job creation programs that can substitute for unpaid work disproportionately carried out by women and children
- Feasibility of implementing public service employment programs
- Improving the design and effectiveness of existing programs
- Designing tools useful for policy and impact analysis including time-use surveys and economic modeling
- The effects of public service employment in promoting gender equality and pro poor growth
Access to employment is important for all countries in that it can be a contributing factor in ameliorating poverty and social exclusion and in promoting economic development. For other countries, achieving the Millennium Development Goals provides a timely opportunity to assess the impact that employment guarantee schemes have had thus far, and analyze their potential impact for the future.