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Index of Volumes

VOLUME 141, NUMBER 1-2 2002/1-2



Employment, social justice and societal well-being


The purpose of economic activity is to increase the well-being of individuals, and employment is central to that well-being. Both propositions seem obvious. Yet economic policies often go against workers' interests. The explanation, Stiglitz argues, lies in the commodification of labour in neoclassical economics, compounded by pervasive market failures, the political under-representation of labour and widespread advocacy of "market-friendly" policies that assume efficiency issues can be addressed in isolation from equity and distributional issues. Governments - and, in a broader sense, the international community - have a key role to play in ensuring that development means more than the accumulation of capital.

Core labour standards and foreign direct investment


This article applies new country-level measures of labour standards - constructed from coding textual information and emphasizing de facto considerations - in a cross-country econometric analysis of foreign direct investment inflows in the 1990s. The fundamental labour standards considered concern freedom of association and collective bargaining, child labour, and gender discrimination and inequality in the workplace. Consistent with prior studies, no solid evidence is found in support of what has been referred to as the "conventional wisdom", namely that foreign investors favour countries with lower labour standards; indeed all evidence of statistical significance points in the opposite direction.

The greying population: A wasted human capital or just a social liability?

Vincenzo SPIEZIA

Predicting the labour market effects of population ageing is a complex exercise. An older - and, in some cases, smaller - population immediately suggests a contraction of labour supply. But the implications for employment are not obvious. Labour supply also depends on labour force participation rates. Besides, demand for labour is bound to be influenced by the wage effects of supply-side shifts, not to mention attendant changes in productivity and capital accumulation, and the increased pension and health-care costs that a higher dependency ratio would entail. Spiezia examines these interrelated issues and the measures taken by OECD countries to cope with ageing.

The challenge of decent work

Robert B. REICH

Based on an address delivered in November 2001 against a background of impending global recession, Reich's message stresses the importance of expansionary fiscal and monetary policies in minimizing job loss during an economic downturn. In the long term, however, promoting decent work means focusing on education and training - to enhance competitiveness through human capital and to promote flexibility through labour mobility. It also means continuing efforts to integrate the global economy and, for the sake of global social justice, opening industrialized countries' markets to exports from the developing countries, alleviating the latter's debt burden and upholding the ILO's core labour standards.

An empirical assessment of the informational society: Employment and occupational structures of G-7 countries, 1920-2000


The 1990s marked a turning point in the evolution of employment and occupational structures in the G-7 economies: the advent of the informational society. Drawing on a comparative analysis of employment data up to 2000, this article gives empirical support to the authors' theory - introduced in Vol. 133 (1994), No.1 of the Review - that informationalism offers a better explanation for pthe pattern of structural change observed in those countries than does the theory of post-industrialism with its focus on service-sector employment. The analytical focus, they argue, now needs to shift from services to information-processing as the dominant activity in advanced economies.


Towards a policy framework for decent work

This perspective concerns the ILO's unifying concept of "decent work", evolved to counteract the adverse effects of globalization. Recalling the universal principles enshrined in ILO standards and their applicability to all national circumstances, the author explains how decent work promotes rights at work, employment, social protection and social dialogue, and how these contribute to sustainable development, macroeconomic security and a fairer distribution of the benefits of growth. He spells out the operational issues for the ILO, notably the better integration of policies, and the development of indicators of decent work and of appropriate country programmes.

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ISSN 1564-913X

Updated by MCN. Approved by IA . Last update: 6 Janauary 2003