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How did the great recession affect different types of workers ? evidence from 17 middle-income countries

  • Cho, Yoonyoung
  • Newhouse, David

This paper examines how different types of workers in 17 middle-income countries were affected by labor market retrenchment during the great recession. Impacts on different types of workers varied by country and were only weakly related to the severity of the shock. Among active workers, youth experienced by far the largest adverse impacts on employment, unemployment, and wage employment, particularly relative to older adults. The percentage employment reductions, for example, were greatest for youth in each sector of the economy, as firms reacted to the shock by substituting away from inexperienced workers. Employment rates, as a share of the population, also plummeted for men. Larger drops in male employment were primarily attributable to men's higher initial rate of employment, although men's concentration in the hard-hit industrial sector also played an important role. Within each sector, percentage employment declines were similar for men and women. Added worker effects among women were mild, even among less-educated workers. Differences in labor market outcomes across education groups and urban or rural residence tended to be smaller. These findings bolster the case for targeted support to displaced youth and wage employees. Programs targeted to female and unskilled workers should be undertaken with appropriate caution or empirical support from timely data, as they may not benefit the majority of affected workers.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5636.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5636
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  1. Bart Hobijn & Aysegul Sahin & Michael Elsby, 2010. "The Labor Market in the Great Recession," 2010 Meeting Papers 323, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Peter R. Fallon & Robert E. B. Lucas, 2000. "The Impact of Financial Crises on Labor Markets, Household Incomes and Poverty: A Review of Evidence," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 103, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  3. Richard B. Freeman, 2005. "Labour Market Institutions Without Blinders: The Debate over Flexibility and Labour Market Performance," NBER Working Papers 11286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Bell, David & Blanchflower, David, 2010. "Youth Unemployment: Deja Vu?," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2010-04, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  5. Leung, Ron & Stampini, Marco & Vencatachellum, Désiré, 2009. "Does Human Capital Protect Workers against Exogenous Shocks? South Africa in the 2008-2009 Crisis," IZA Discussion Papers 4608, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Khanna, Gaurav & Newhouse, David & Paci, Pierella, 2010. "Fewer Jobs or Smaller Paychecks? Labor Market Impacts of the Recent Crisis in Middle-Income Countries," World Bank - Economic Premise, The World Bank, issue 11, pages 1-4, April.
  7. Schultz, Theodore W, 1975. "The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 827-46, September.
  8. McKenzie, David J, 2004. "Aggregate Shocks and Urban Labor Market Responses: Evidence from Argentina's Financial Crisis," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(4), pages 719-58, July.
  9. Bilal Barakat & Johannes Holler & Klaus Prettner & Julia Schuster, 2010. "The Impact of the Economic Crisis on Labour and Education in Europe," Working Papers 1006, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna.
  10. Emmanuel Skoufias & Susan Parker, 2006. "Job loss and family adjustments in work and schooling during the Mexican peso crisis," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 163-181, February.
  11. Sabarwal, Shwetlena & Sinha, Nistha & Buvinic, Mayra, 2011. "How Do Women Weather Economic Shocks? What We Know," World Bank - Economic Premise, The World Bank, issue 46, pages 1-6, January.
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