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Index of Volumes

VOLUME 140, NUMBER 3 2001/3



Poverty reduction and decent work in developing countries:
Do minimum wages help?

Catherine SAGET

The impact of minimum wages on employment and poverty is a subject of enduring controversy. Saget's opening literature review contrasts the ambivalence of theoretical predictions with empirical findings that suggest a negative correlation between minimum wages and poverty, and little -- if any -- disemployment effect. Drawing on minimum wage data compiled in 2000, her own empirical analysis explores minimum wage effects on poverty and employment in developing economies, including the informal sector. The effect of the minimum wage level on the level of employment appears to be insignificant, but she finds that a decent minimum wage may help to alleviate poverty.

The working poor in developing countries

Nomaan MAJID

In advanced societies with social insurance systems, the "unemployment rate" rightly captures employment problems. In poor, developing countries lacking social insurance, many people "work" to survive and support their families, while the "unemployed" are able to survive while seeking work -- hence typically low recorded unemployment rates alongside high poverty rates. This article proposes a methodology to estimate the number of working poor -- those who work and belong to poor households. Results suggest that the working- poor population declined in many middle-income countries between 1986 and 1997, but that both declines and increases occurred in a significant number of low-income countries.

Labour market flexibility in the transition countries: How much is too much?

Sandrine CAZES and Alena NESPOROVA

Analysing data on job turnover, labour turnover and job tenure in nine countries of central and eastern Europe over the 1990s, the authors show how labour markets have been adjusting since the demise of central planning and the introduction of legislative and institutional reforms influenced by western European models. Unlike the industrialized countries, where job tenure follows a counter-cyclical pattern determined by supply-side behaviour, most transition countries still display demand-driven, pro-cyclical patterns of tenure, suggesting a heightened perception of job insecurity. This is confirmed by counter-cyclical patterns of labour turnover and analysis of the ratio of job to labour turnover.

The voluntary sector, job creation and social policy: Illusions and opportunities

Virginie PÉROTIN

The recent surge of interest in the voluntary sector has inspired suggestions that unemployment could be significantly reduced by creating jobs in non-profit organizations, notably those active in social and community services. This article outlines the debate, examining recent trends in the sector's employment and resources, and the conditions in which non-profit organizations provide social services more efficiently than government and for-profit enterprises. Some promising innovative initiatives are reviewed. However, though the sector is potentially a renewed source of inspiration for the public sector, it should not be viewed as the panacea for employment and social policy problems.

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ISSN 1564-913X

Updated by MCN. Approved by IA . Last update: 28 August 2002.