2020 Jobs and Development Conference

With a special focus on COVID-19, the fourth Jobs and Development Conference: “Better Jobs for Development” discussed a wide range of development issues, including inequality, informality, labor mobility, and globalization. The four-day virtual conference, hosted by the World Bank, IZA, the Network on Jobs and Development, and UNU-WIDER from September 1-4, 2020, showcased more than 80 papers from economists and experts in 15 sessions, and attracted more than 2,000 online participants.


The conference featured a Policymakers’ panel on the employment effects of the pandemic in the global south; two keynote speeches; and a special session on the multifaceted effects of the pandemic, including on labor mobility, occupational exposure, mental health in Colombia, and on the amenability of jobs to working from home.


During the Policymakers’ panel, led by Kunal Sen (UNU-WIDER), Indhira Santos (World Bank), Sangheon Lee (ILO), Martha Chen (Harvard Kennedy School), and Haroon Bhorat (University of Cape Town) shared how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted vulnerable groups such as informal workers, youth, and women and how it threatens the gains achieved in reducing the gender gap in labor participation.


During his keynote address, Ian Goldin (University of Oxford) drew attention to the differing impacts of COVID-19 across ethnic and income groups and stressed the importance of investing in strong safety nets, solidarity and cooperation. In her talk, Ekaterina Zhuravskaya (Paris School of Economics) shared her research on how forced displacement in Poland post-World War II led to increased investments in education by migrants and refugees and made the case for why countries receiving displaced populations should prioritize educational access. The keynote speakers’ messages on addressing inequalities and protecting human capital were echoed by participants in the special session chaired by Piotr Lewandowski (Institute for Structural Research).


See also:

Blog: What COVID-19 means for work, inequality, and politics

Blog: Forced displacement and human capital: evidence from post-WWII Poland

Blog: What economists have learned about how lockdowns affect workers and economies

Blog: COVID-19 and Better Jobs: We need to Invest in a ‘Just’ Labor Market



The conference featured these two keynote speakers:


SEPTEMBER 3, 2020: 3 PM (CEST, UTC+2)

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya (Paris School of Economics): “Forced Migration and Human Capital: Evidence from Post-WWII Population Transfers”


SEPTEMBER 4, 2020: 3 PM (CEST, UTC+2)

Ian Goldin (University of Oxford): “Covid-19: Implications for Work, Inequality and Politics”



The conference featured a policy panel on the employment effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Global South:


SEPTEMBER 2, 2020: 3 PM (CEST, UTC+2)


Policy Responses to the Employment Effects of COVID-19 in the Global South: What Have We Learnt So Far?


Chair: Kunal Sen (UNU-WIDER and IZA)



Indhira Vanessa Santos (World Bank)

Sangheon Lee (ILO International Labour Organization)

Martha Chen (Harvard Kennedy School)

Haroon Bhorat (University of Cape Town and IZA)

To Download

   AGENDA 2020