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The Right to a Job, the Right Types of Projects: Employment Guarantee Policies from a Gender Perspective

  • Rania Antonopoulos

There is now widespread recognition that in most countries, private-sector investment has not been able to absorb surplus labor. This is all the more the case for poor unskilled people. Public works programs and employment guarantee schemes in South Africa, India, and other countries provide jobs while creating public assets. In addition to physical infrastructure, an area that has immense potential to create much-needed jobs is that of social service delivery and social infrastructure. While unemployment and enforced “idleness” persist, existing time-use survey data reveal that people around the world—especially women and children—spend long hours performing unpaid work. This work includes not only household maintenance and care provisioning for family members and communities, but also time spent that helps fill public infrastructural gaps—for example, in the energy, health, and education sectors. This paper suggests that, by bringing together public job creation, on the one hand, and unpaid work, on the other, well-designed employment guarantee policies can promote job creation, gender equality, and pro-poor development.

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Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number wp_516.

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Date of creation: Sep 2007
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Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_516
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  1. Stephen Devereux, 2005. "Can minimum wages contribute to poverty reduction in poor countries?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(7), pages 899-912.
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  4. Branko Milanovic, 2003. "Can We Discern The Effect Of Globalization On Income Distribution? Evidence From Household Surveys," HEW 0310002, EconWPA.
  5. Indira Hirway, 2006. "Enhancing Livelihood Security through the National Employment Guarantee Act: Toward Effective Implementation of the Act," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_437, Levy Economics Institute.
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  8. Milanovic, Branko, 2002. "Can we discern the effect of globalization on income distribution? evidence from household budget surveys," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2876, The World Bank.
  9. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1994. "Transfer Benefits from Public-Works Employment: Evidence for Rural India," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(427), pages 1346-69, November.
  10. Elson, Diane & Cagatay, Nilufer, 2000. "The Social Content of Macroeconomic Policies," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(7), pages 1347-1364, July.
  11. Robert Pollin & Gerald Epstein & James Heintz & Léonce Ndikumana, 2006. "An Employment-targeted Economic Programme for South Africa," Country Study 1, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
  12. Anna McCord & Dirk Ernst van Seventer, 2004. "The economy-wide impacts of the labour intensification of infrastructure expenditure in South Africa," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 093, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  13. William F. Mitchell & Warren B. Mosler, 2001. "Fiscal Policy and the Job Guarantee," CEPR Discussion Papers 441, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  14. Fadhel Kaboub, 2007. "Employment Guarantee Programs: A Survey of Theories and Policy Experiences," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_498, Levy Economics Institute.
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