Volume 150 (2011), Number 1-2
Trade liberalization, employment and inequality in India and South Africa
David KUCERA and Leanne RONCOLATO
This article uses social accounting matrices in a Leontief multiplier model to estimate
the effects of trade expansion on employment and incomes in India and South
Africa. The evaluation focuses on a period of rapid trade liberalization beginning in
the early 1990s, distinguishing between trade with developed and developing countries.
Employment results identify winning and losing industries and examine sex
and skill biases. Income results examine inequality measured by household income
distribution (rural and urban). Results are presented in the context of trade theory
as regards adjustment mechanisms for bringing trade into balance and implications
of specialization for economic development.
KEYWORDS: EMPLOYMENT, EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY, TRADE LIBERALIZATION,
HOUSEHOLD INCOME, INCOME DISTRIBUTION, INDIA, SOUTH AFRICA.
The administration and financing of paid sick leave
Anke SCHLIWEN, Alison EARLE, Jeff HAYES and S. Jody HEYMANN
Decision-makers in countries considering adoption or reform of paid sick leave policies
need to understand the mechanisms used to finance sick leave provision. Using
global data on sick leave legislation, the authors find the type of model used –
employer liability, social insurance, social assistance, or a combination thereof – has
significant implications for the duration and generosity of sickness benefits. However,
they find no significant relationship between the duration or generosity of sick leave
and economic indicators such as per capita GDP, unemployment rates, or national competitiveness. Potential mechanisms enabling both effective sick leave policies and
strong economic outcomes are discussed.
KEYWORD: SICK LEAVE, PAID LEAVE, HEALTH INSURANCE, ELIGIBILITY,
EMPLOYERS’ LIABILITY, LEGAL ASPECT, DEVELOPED COUNTRIES,
Public pensions’ sustainability and population ageing: Is immigration
Felipe SERRANO, Begoña EGUÍA and Jesús FERREIRO
Population ageing generates problems of financial sustainability for unfunded pension
systems in many developed countries. Immigration is often presented as one
potential solution to this problem, mainly in countries with high migration inflows.
The authors propose a model to analyse the impact of immigration flows on the financial
sustainability of the pay-as-you-go method, using Spain as a test case. They show
that, despite their size, these inflows do not solve the Spanish pension system’s sustainability
problem, leading to the need for parametric reforms. The article also presents
the intensity of the reforms required to maintain the system’s financial equilibrium.
KEYWORDS: OCCUPATIONAL PENSION SCHEME, PAY AS YOU GO SYSTEM, MIGRANT WORKER,
LABOUR MIGRATIOIN, AGEING, SPAIN.
Labour administration in sub-Saharan Africa: Functions and challenges
in the light of ILO Convention No. 150
Philippe AUVERGNON, Sandrine LAVIOLETTE and Moussa OUMAROU
Based on a review of national legislation and the findings of their fieldwork, the authors
assess the application of the Labour Administration Convention, 1978 (No. 150), in a
sample of nine African countries. Their research focuses on three main issues: the
relative importance given to each of the various functions of labour administration;
the extension of those functions to workers in non-wage employment; and the shortage
of human and material resources available to the administrations. In conclusion,
the authors stress the current relevance and value of the ILO instrument, particularly
for extending labour administration work to the informal economy.
KEYWORDS: LABOUR ADMINISTRATION, LABOUR INSPECTION, ROLE OF ILO,
ILO CONVENTION, ILO RECOMMENDATION, COMMENT, APPLICATION,
AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA.
SPECIAL FEATURE: LABOUR AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS IN CHINA
Labour market transition, income inequality and economic growth
Ming LU and Hong GAO
After “opening up” in 1978, China followed a development strategy that has led to
internal and external economic imbalances, especially since its labour market reform
of the mid-1990s and the resulting surge in rural-to-urban migration. Low labour costs
emerged as its main comparative advantage, but its over-reliance on exports for
growth was starkly exposed by the global economic crisis of 2008. This, coupled with
widening income disparities, could jeopardize the sustainability of China’s growth
unless it adjusts its reform and development strategies to promote income equality
and domestic consumption. The Employment Contract Law in force since 2008 could
signal institutional change in the right direction.
KEYWORDS: EMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT, EMPLOYMENT POLICY, INCOME DISTRIBUTION,
ECONOMIC GROWTH, URBAN AREA, CHINA.
Employment relations “with Chinese characteristics”: The role of trade
unions in China
Ying ZHU, Malcolm WARNER and Tongqing FENG
Reviewing recent labour developments and trade union policy shifts in historical
perspective, this article explores the role of trade unions in China’s efforts to promote
a “harmonious society”. The much-criticized “top-down” approach associated
with the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, however, has led to growing pressure “from below”, as evidenced by the recent increase in the number of strikes.
With an emergent new role for trade unions, the authors argue, an employment relations
system “with Chinese characteristics” is now institutionally embedded in the
KEYWORDS:LABOUR RELATIONS, TRADE UNION ROLE, CHINA.
Industrial relations in China: A review based on a six-party model
Research on industrial relations and labour in China has been relatively stagnant,
partly because the classic tripartite model of industrial relations is unable to explain
the facts. This article proposes a six-party model: following brief reviews of theory
and China’s industrial relations history, it introduces a new six-party taxonomy for
the analysis of industrial relations in China. The actors, with their “Chinese characteristics”,
are the Party-State, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, employers’
organizations, grass-roots unions, employers and employees. This model, the
author argues, provides a useful tool for capturing a broader picture of China’s
evolving industrial relations.
KEYWORDS:LABOUR RELATIONS, STATE INTERVENTION, TRADE UNION ROLE,
WORKERS’ PARTICIPATION, CHINA.
Failures of enterprise-level unionization in China: Implications
for coalmine safety and beyond
In recent years, China’s frequent coalmining accidents have highlighted legislative
defects that disable enterprise unions from exercising their statutory functions effectively
in regard to occupational safety. The causes of this dysfunction have much
wider implications, however. Reviewing the country’s Trade Union Law, the author
argues for amendments to empower workers to set up genuine enterprise-level
unions – by clarifying the procedures for doing so, excluding senior corporate executives
from union membership and leadership, securing unions’ financial independence
from enterprise management, providing safeguards for the election of trade
union leaders and their removal from office, and recognizing the right to strike.
KEYWORDS:TRADE UNION POWER, COAL MINING, OCCUPATIONAL ACCIDENT,
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY, TRADE UNION ROLE, TRADE UNION RECOGNITION,
ENTERPRISE LEVEL, RIGHT TO STRIKE, LABOUR LEGISLATION, COMMENT, CHINA,
Social security for China’s migrant workers
China’s lack of social and labour policy coherence is an increasingly serious problem
which threatens to undermine labour–capital relations and, ultimately, the sustainability
of the country’s market transition. A particular constraint on the further
development of the private sector is the absence of integrated social protection for
rural migrants. These workers account for a large share of the private-sector labour
force, yet many of them do not enjoy the same social security rights as urban residents.
The Government has started to address this issue through tighter law enforcement
but, the author argues, the solution may call for some institutional reform.
KEYWORDS:MIGRANT WORKER, SOCIAL SECURITY, LABOUR LEGISLATION, COMMENT,
PRIVATE ENTERPRISE, CHINA.
From job search to hiring and promotion: The labour market experiences
of ethnic minorities in Beijing
Drawing on micro-level census data and interviews with individual workers and
employers, this article examines the job-search, hiring and promotion experiences
of ethnic minority workers and jobseekers in Beijing. Labour market data indicate
that ethnic minorities are at a disadvantage relative to the dominant Han ethnic
group, particularly when it comes to employment in high-wage, skilled jobs. The evidence
provided here suggests this may be attributable to gaps in the institutional framework that encourage reliance on social network capital for job search, hiring
KEYWORDS:JOB SEARCHING, PROMOTION OF EMPLOYMENT,
EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY, JOB SEEKER, ETHNIC GROUP,
MINORITY GROUP, CHINA.
- Comentarios al Estatuto de los Trabajadores, edited by Luis Enrique DE LA VILLA GIL. Reviewed by Antonio OJEDA AVILÉS.
Just give money to the poor: The development revolution from the global south, by Joseph HANLON, Armando BARRIENTOS and David HULME. Reviewed by Carmelo MESA-LAGO.