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OECD Employment Outlook 2011

image of OECD Employment Outlook 2011

The OECD Employment Outlook is an annual publication that surveys labour market conditions in OECD countries and analyses issues of interest to researchers and policy makers. The 2011 issue highlights policy issues related to: the recent economic crisis and the adequacy of income support for the unemployed; social protection and labour markets in emerging economies; earnings volatility; and qualifications mismatch. In the wake of the global economic crisis, the question of how unemployment benefits and other income support schemes can best cushion income losses during a deep recession is examined. More generallly, the risk of large declines in earnings during recessions is analysed and structural labour market reforms are identified which can reduce earnings volatility over the business cycle.

The recent global crisis has also highlighted the importance of social protection schemes in emerging economies, and the Outlook shows how they can be cost effective when they are adapted to national labour market conditions such as a high incidence of informal employment. In all countries, a strong and sustainable economic recovery is more likely if workers have the skills that employers require and are employed in jobs which make good use of their skills. New measures of qualification and skill mismatch are presented and lessons drawn for education systems, life-long learning institutions and labour market policies.

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The Labour Market Effects of Social Protection Systems in Emerging Economies

This chapter looks at the labour market effects of three major components of social protection systems in key emerging economies. Country studies are used to examine the case of unemployment compensation in Brazil, cash transfers in South Africa and health protection in Mexico. The findings suggest that extending social protection coverage can, if well-designed, contribute to improved labour market outcomes. Poorly designed systems can weaken the incentives to work and impede the development of formal employment. To ensure positive outcomes, countries should consider: targeting income support policies to those who need it most; better integrating programmes and policies; and promoting self-insurance among those who can afford it.

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