Staff at the Research Department

Organizational description | 16 October 2017
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Richard Samans is Director of Research and member of the Senior Management Team of the International Labour Organization and Chairman of the Climate Disclosure Standards Board. He is a former Managing Director of the World Economic Forum and Director-General of the Global Green Growth Institute. He served previously as Special Assistant to the President for International Economic Policy and National Security Council Senior Director for International Economic Affairs in the second Clinton Administration, and as economic policy advisor to US Senate Democratic Leader Thomas A. Daschle.  In the UN system, he has been a member of the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work; the UN Secretary General’s Task Force on Digital Financing of the Sustainable Development Goals; and the UNEP Inquiry on the Design of a Sustainable Financial System.

Lawrence Jeff Johnson serves as Deputy Director of the Research Department. The focus of his work relates to the Future of Work and Sustainable Development Goals. Prior to this appointment, he served as ILO Country Office Director in the Philippines 2010-2015 and the Chief of the ILO Employment Trends between 1998 and 2010. Prior to joining the ILO, he served as an Economist with the United States Department of Labor for ten years. 


Maria-Luz Vega, Senior Adviser for the Research Department, joined the ILO in 1989 as an associated expert in labour law and labour legislation in Geneva. Prior to joining the ILO she worked as a Labour and social security inspector at the Ministry of labour and Social Security in her home country Spain and has a Diplome d’Etudes Superieures en Droit du travail from the University of Geneva. From 2015-2016 she worked as a Special Adviser for the Regional office-Europe and Central-Asia and then from 2016-2019 as a Coordinator for the Future of Work Initiative. Maria-Luz has published over 40 publications, her main areas of competence are: Labour law, industrial relations, human rights, labour administration, labour inspection, OSH, international ILO standards and Future of work. 

Soulayma Zayed is a Department Secretary, and Assistant to the Director. She holds a University degree in Advanced Journalism and Political Science, from the American University. She joined the Research Department in 2017. Prior to that, Soulayma worked as Focal Point for the Regional Office for the Arab States, as Assistant to the Regional Director and Liaison Officer between headquarters and the field. Prior to that, she worked as a journalist in the Swiss Journal PME Magazine, a journal specialised in economy and small and medium enterprises.

Education and Traning

Naren Prasad is a Head of Education and Training. He coordinates the ILO’s International/Regional Training Courses on Evidence-based policy making for decent work. He has a wide experience working as an economist and expert trainer with various United Nations agencies in different regions. Naren has published on issues of social policy, employment and labour market, small island countries, middle class and privatization of public services. He hails from Fiji and he holds a PhD in Economics (University of Paris II-Panthéon Assas).

Department Support

Thuy Nguyen Couture is a Funds Control Officer of the department, looking after programme, budget, finance and human resources. Thuy hails from Vietnam, and she studied management, marketing, accounting and Swiss law in Geneva. She’s been working at the ILO since 1999, where she first worked on the French version of the Encyclopedia of Occupational Health and Safety. She then moved to the Department Support Unit of the International Institute of Labour Studies. Fascinated by design, she learned InDesign and handled the typesetting, layout and covers of flagship publications.

Labour Market Trends and Policy Evaluation Unit

Verónica Escudero joined the ILO in 2008 and is the Chief of the Labour Market Trends and Policy Evaluation Unit. Prior to this, she worked at the International Organization for Migration in Geneva and at the Macroeconomic and Financial Consulting firm Multienlace in her home country Ecuador. Her current research focuses on assessing the effectiveness of labour market policies on job quality and social conditions and unveiling whether leveraging complementarities between policies can foster their beneficial effect. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Paris School of Economics and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS). Verónica is currently on leave from the ILO, serving as Visiting Scholar with CEGA (Center for Effective Global Action) at UC Berkeley.

Recent publications:

Stefan Kühn
 has been an economist at the ILO since 2011 and joined his current team in 2016. He currently manages the Trends Econometric Models used to produce the global estimates for the Trends publication series. Previous work comprises the development of the GEL model, a dynamic macroeconomic model for policy analysis. Stefan’s research areas of interest include macroeconomics, labour economics and international economics. In 2011, he obtained his PhD in Economics from Maastricht University, the Netherlands. 

Recent publication: 

Hannah Liepmann joined the ILO Research Department in 2018 and works as an economist in the Labour Market Trends and Policy Evaluation Unit. She is particularly interested in studying the integration of marginalized demographic groups into employment. She obtained her PhD in economics from Humboldt-University Berlin, where she also worked as a research assistant within the Collaborative Research Center “Rationality and Competition”. In addition, Hannah has been a visiting researcher at the Institute for Research on Labour and Employment at UC Berkeley as well as the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) in Nuremberg. 

Recent publications:

Clemente Pignatti first joined the ILO in 2011 but works as a full-time Economist in the team since 2013. He has contributed to different several editions of the ILO flagship publication World Employment and Social Outlook and numerous other reports. His current areas of research include the analysis of labour market institutions and the evaluation of active labour market policies. He holds a Master in Economics from the London School of Economics and is currently a PhD student in Development Economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.

Recent publication:

Macroeconomic Policy and Jobs Unit

Ekkehard Ernst is Chief of Unit, overseeing work related to the Future of Work Initiative and analysing alternative scenarios for jobs and working conditions. He is a regular speaker at international conferences and organizes a yearly summer academy where he gives hands-on advice on how to use macro-economic models to analyse labour market challenges. Prior to joining ILO he worked at the OECD and the European Central Bank. He holds a PhD from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales.

Recent publications:
Rossana Merola is a Macroeconomist at the Research Department since 2014. Rossana is currently conducting research on Artificial Intelligence, the Future of Work, inequality and inclusive labour market. Before joining the ILO, Rossana worked at the ESRI in Dublin, the OECD and the European Central Bank. Rossana holds a PhD in Economics from the Université Catholique de Louvain and the University of Rome Tor Vergata.

Recent publications:
  • Ciminelli, Gabriele; Ernst, Ekkehard; Merola, Rossana; Giuliodori, Massimo. 2019. "The composition effects of tax-based consolidation on income inequality", European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 107-124.
  • Ernst, Ekkehard; Merola, Rossana; Samaan, Daniel. 2019. "Economics of Artificial Intelligence: Implications for the Future of Work", IZA Journal of Labor Policy, vol. 9(1), pages 1-35, June.
  • ElGanainy, Asmaa; Ernst, Ekkehard; Merola, Rossana; Rogerson, Richard; Schindler, Martin. 2021. “Inclusive labor markets”, ILO-IMF working paper (forthcoming).
  • Langot,Francois; Merola,Rossana; Oh,Samil. 2019. "Can Taxes Help Ensure a Fair Globalization ?", Policy Research Working Paper Series 8975, The World Bank and ILO Research Department Working Paper No. 45.
  • For other publications, visit

Daniel Samaan is a Senior Economist at the Research Department of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva. He has been working on the impacts of globalization and technology on international labor markets. Recent publications include analyses on the effectiveness of labor provisions in free trade agreements, and research for the Future of Work Initiative of the ILO, discussing the effects of artificial intelligence (AI) on the world of work.

Globalization, Competitiveness and Labour Standards

Marva Corley-Coulibaly is the Chief of the Globalization, Competitiveness and Labour Standards unit. Her current research focuses on trade, global supply chains and labour standards, enterprises and service economy. She also manages two research projects on labour provisions in trade and investment arrangements. Prior to joining the ILO, Marva was a Senior Economist at the United Nation’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs in New York. She also worked as an economist for the United States’ Department of Labor in Washington, DC. She holds a PhD in economics from Howard University in Washington, DC.

Recent publications:
Pelin Sekerler Richiardi has been a Research Officer in Economics at the ILO since 2010. She conducts research on labour market implications of issues related to innovation in firms, international trade, social protection, and inequality. Between 2013 and 2014, she was a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, where her research focused on developing multidimensional statistical indicators of welfare. Pelin holds a PhD in economics obtained jointly from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, where she also taught economics.

Recent publication:

Work Income and Equity Unit

Catherine Saget is the Chief of the Work Income Equity Unit with the Research department of the International Labour Office (ILO). She has led ILO research on the impact of climate change and environmental degradation on labour markets since 2017. Previously, she has contributed to the setting up of a unit on wages within the ILO and had worked on employment policies at times of economic crisis. She was the Senior Employment Specialist of the ILO Office in Delhi for a short time. As an Economist with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, she participated in the OECD thematic review on youth employment policies. She holds a PhD in Economics from the European University Institute in Florence (Italy).

Recent publications:

Tahmina Karimova
is a lawyer specialised in public international law, sustainable development, labour law and human rights law. She joined the Research Department in 2017; prior to that, she was the ILO National Coordinator for Tajikistan and a Project Coordinator for the ILO IPEC in Central Asia. From 2014 to 2017, Tahmina worked as a Human Rights Officer in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. She holds a PhD in International Law from the University of Geneva (Switzerland) and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.

Recent publications:
  • Sustainable Development and Disasters” in Research Handbook on Disasters and International Law, edited by S. C. Breau, and K. L.H. Samuel, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016, pp. 177-203.
  • Human Rights and Development in International Law, Routledge (2016).

Tahmina Mahmud
joined the Research Department in 2017 to coordinate 30 national studies on skills development for the green transition (in collaboration with the ILO Skills and Employability Branch and the Green Jobs Programme). From 2011 to 2016, she worked as project coordinator (Applying the G20 Training Strategy; HIV workplace prevention) in Tajikistan. She holds a master’s degree in International Economy and Globalisation from the University of Pierre Mendès, Grenoble (France).

Recent publications: 

Changing World of Work unit

Dorothea Hoehtker a historian and Senior Researcher. She holds a PhD from the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in Paris and has previously worked for the German Forced Labour Compensation Programme (GFLCP). She joined the ILO in 2009 and is currently responsible for academic research and collaborations in the framework of the ILO Century Project.

Recent publications:
Irmgard Nübler is a Senior Economist. She is leading the research program on technology productive transformation and jobs. In previous capacities in the ILO she was responsible for developing work programs on Skills development and apprenticeship systems, and on Industrial policies and capabilities for job creation. Before joining the ILO, she was a Professor of Economics at the Free University of Berlin and conducted research, among others, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston and the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Nairobi. She holds a PhD in Economics from the Free University of Berlin.

Recent publications:
Nikolai Rogovsky is a Senior Economist. He has been holding a number of senior technical, research and managerial positions in the ILO, including Head of Knowledge Management Coordination Team (2014-2019). Prior to joining the ILO in1996, he has been an Associate Professor of Management at California State University. He also worked as consultant at Multinational Research Advisory Group at Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Nikolai has authored and edited a number of books and articles in the fields of HRM, cross-cultural management, CSR. He holds a PhD in Management from the University of Pennsylvania.

International Labour Review

Esther Barrett is the Senior English Editor at the International Labour Review. She holds a degree in Modern History and French from the University of Oxford and an MA in Translation from the University of Geneva. Immediately before joining the Research Department in 2018, she worked for an intergovernmental commodity organization in Madrid, prior to which she was a freelance translator and report writer for various UN agencies in Geneva. In this capacity, she first came to the ILO in 2011.

Lola Montero Cué has been in charge of the Spanish edition of the International Labour Review since 2012. She holds an MA in Linguistics, a DAS in Learning Psychology (with a focus on the comprehension of social and political concepts) and a postgraduate degree in publishing. Before joining the department, she worked as a freelance translator in the UN system and as an adult trainer and consultant in informal contexts. She has also coordinated Spanish translation teams at the International Labour Conference.

Gaëlle Bossi
is a translator and editor. She holds a diploma in translation and a certificate of terminology from the École de traduction et d’interprétation of the University of Geneva. She joined the Research Department in 2015 as the senior French editor for the International Labour Review. Prior to that, she was a freelance translator working for various international organisations and private clients and specializing in employment issues, human rights, sociological research and surveys. She also worked for the University of Geneva as teaching assistant.

Officers in the field

Ken Chamuva Shawa is a Senior Economist at the ILO's Regional Office for Africa. He supports the development and implementation of policy frameworks, leads the work on future of work, and coordinates regional research for the Africa region. His research interests include the macroeconomics of labour markets, saving and investment, industry and trade, debt, the growth-environment nexus, and agricultural policy. Prior to joining the ILO, he worked at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, the COMESA and the African Union-IBAR. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Nairobi.

Recent publications: Sara Elder is the Senior Economist and Head of the Regional Economic and Social Analysis (RESA) Unit in the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok. RESA oversees multi-country, multi-disciplinary and inter-sectoral research and policy analysis related to key issues and themes of relevance to the Decent Work Agenda and its implementation in Asia and the Pacific. Prior to her transfer to Bangkok, Sara spent five years as Chief Technical Advisor on the ILO Work4Youth Project and more than ten years working in the area of labour market information and analysis in the Employment Trends Unit. She has written extensively on issues of labour market transitions of young people, labour market and employment trends. She holds a MSc in Economic History from the London School of Economics.

Recent publications: 
Christian Viegelahn works as Economist at the Regional Economic and Social Analysis (RESA) Unit in the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok. Christian joined ILO’s Bangkok Office in August 2018, after having spent several years at ILO’s Research Department in Geneva. Christian’s research focuses on trade, global supply chains, macroeconomics and the labour market. He also managed the production of new labour market indicators, including global estimates of the number of workers in different types of firms. Christian holds a PhD in Economics from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. Before joining the ILO in 2011, he worked for the OECD.

Recent publications: