Fifth Policy Coherence Initiative Meeting

Fifth-Multi Agency meeting held on April 20, 2006 at the World Bank, Washington to discuss labour market diagnostics in low income countries (LICs)

Policy Coherence Initiative: Fifth Multi-Agency Meeting Minutes of the Meeting

Policy Coherence Initiative

Minutes of the Fifth Multi-Agency Meeting

April 20th 2006

The Fifth Multi-Agency Meeting of the Policy Coherence Initiative was held at the World Bank in Washington, DC on April 20, 2006. Present to the meeting were: Tami Aritomi (WB), Peter Bakvis (ICFTU/Global Unions), Duncan Campbell (ILO), Jean-Pierre Chauffour (IMF), Louise J. Cord (World Bank), M. Louise Fox (World Bank), Catalina Gutierrez (WB), Robert Holzmann (World Bank), Rolph van der Hoeven (ILO), Pierella Paci (World Bank), Peter Peek (ILO), Armand Pereira (ILO), Dhushyanth Raju (WB)Dorothy Rosenberg (UNDP), Jorge Saba Arbache (World Bank), Stefano Scarpetta (World Bank), Pieter Serneels (World Bank), Antonio Spilimbergo (IMF) and John Ziolkowski (FAO).

The main goals of this meeting—agenda attached—were to (i) discuss the limitations of labor market diagnostics currently used in low income countries (LICs) and the data available, (i) propose innovative diagnostics designed to address these limitations. Thus the three presentations and the discussion that followed emphasized the importance of re-evaluating standard labor market indicators in order to better capture labor market conditions of low and actual diagnostic needs.

The paper presented by Pieter Serneels (World Bank) focused on Africa and (i) assessed the availability of data for deriving standard labor market indicators; (ii) reviewed the indicators currently used and the frequency with which they are monitored: and (iii) questioned the relevance of these indicators for economic diagnostics and policy. The presentation is attached for your information. Of particular relevance are:

The serious data limitations faced by some countries, especially in East Africa, but also the heavy underutilization of the available data across the region;

The heavy reliance on simulations or estimations, rather than on original data;

The poor comparability of data and indicators across countries and within a given country over time.

The suggestion was to focus on a small number of priority indicators to be monitored on a regular basis over time and across countries. These should include: labor supply, activity, earnings, other job attributes, household expenditures, individual characteristics, multiple activities, income of the self-employed, and income of unpaid workers, and in-kind income.

The need to go beyond standard employment and unemployment indicators was also stressed in the other presentations. Peter Peek (ILO) focused on Decent work in LICs and proposed an innovative diagnostic methodology that emphasizes the quality of jobs as well as the availability of employment opportunities. The paper (attached) proposes a