2021 Jobs and Development Conference

With a special focus on “good jobs transitions for post-pandemic development,” the fifth Jobs and Development Conference featured a wide range of latest research on jobs and development, including the differential impacts of COVID-19 on workers, migration and remittances, and gender gaps in the labor market. The three-day virtual conference, held in early September, was hosted by the World Bank, IZA, the Network on Jobs and Development, and UNU-WIDER. It showcased over 50 papers from economists, policymakers, and development experts, spanning 22 countries, and attracted more than 1,600 online participants.


This year’s conference sent a strong message that – as the world emerges from the pandemic – policymakers will have to focus on creating better, more resilient jobs and managing jobs transitions in the context of global challenges, including climate change, gender inequality, and extreme poverty. In his keynote address, Dani Rodrik of the Harvard Kennedy School explained why the ‘traditional’ model of development – with informal agricultural workers moving into formal, organized manufacturing jobs – is no longer creating enough good-quality, productive jobs for low-skilled workers in many lower- and middle-income countries. David Autor of MIT highlighted how technological advancement has changed the nature of work in the United States. Machines can substitute jobs – but at the same time, ‘new work’ arises from machinery that complements labor.


The Policymakers’ Panel on Migration in Latin America and the Caribbean, chaired by Michal Rutkowski, the World Bank’s Global Director for Social Protection and Jobs, discussed how low-quality jobs, insecurity, natural disasters and climate change influence migration in the region, and how the pandemic has exacerbated migratory pressures. The ILO-World Bank Special Session on Measuring Women’s and Men’s Work featured findings from the latest ILO Labor Force Pilot Studies, including evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa on redefining employment, as well as findings from a joint ILO-World Bank study in Sri Lanka.


See also:

Blog: Jobs and Development Conference 2021: Good Jobs Transitions for Post-Pandemic Development

Blog: The latest research on jobs and development: conference round-up



The conference featured these two keynote speakers:


SEPTEMBER 2, 2021: 3 PM – 4 PM (CEST, UTC +2)

Dani Rodrik, Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government

“Good Jobs and Development Strategy”


SEPTEMBER 3, 2021: 4 PM – 5 PM

David Autor, Ford Professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“Shaping the Future of Work: Lessons from the U.S. Experience”



The conference featured a policy panel on the migration from Latin America and the Caribbean


SEPTEMBER 1, 2021: 4 PM – 5:15 PM (CEST, UTC +2)


Migration from Latin America and the Caribbean: Drivers and Policy Responses


Chair:  Michał Rutkowski (Global Director, Social Protection and Jobs, The World Bank)



Jaime R. Díaz Palacios, Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI)
Eric Jacobstein, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
Taimur Samad, The World Bank
Dilip Ratha, Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD)


   AGENDA 2021

Amparo Palacios-López
The World Bank

Amparo Palacios-López is a Senior Economist in the Data Production and Methods Unit of the Development Data Group of the World Bank. Her primary area of research is development, with a focus on labor, gender, and welfare. She conducts research on survey methods, focusing on labor and agriculture. The recent focus of her methodological research has been on labor and gender working jointly with the Gender Group of the World Bank and the International Labor Organization. As a member of the Living Standards Measurement Study team, she supports surveys in several countries of Sub-Saharan Africa and leads the design of the questionnaires used in surveys in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East.

Antonio Rinaldo Discenza

Antonio Rinaldo Discenza is a professional statistician, an expert in labour market statistics, a survey manager, and a survey methodologist. He has been working within the international sphere for more than 15 years with an extensive range of activities, such as: designing and delivering formal training courses and training on the job on statistical processes and methodology for large household surveys; technical assistance and statistical capacity building to national statistical offices; and sector reviewing in the field of labour force survey and Labour Market Statistics

Dani Rodrik
John F. Kennedy School of Government Harvard University

Dani Rodrik is an economist whose research revolves around globalization, economic growth and development, and political economy. His current work focuses on how to create more inclusive economies, in developed and developing societies. Rodrik is the Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is currently President-Elect of the International Economic Association, and co-director of Economics for Inclusive Prosperity. His newest book is Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy (2017).

David Autor
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

David Autor is a Professor and Associate Department Head of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Economics. He is also a Faculty Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and Editor in Chief of the Journal of Economic Perspectives (published by the American Economic Association), and has served on the Board of Editors at the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics and the Journal of Labor Economics.

Dilip Ratha
Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development

Dilip Ratha is the head of KNOMAD and lead economist, Migration and Remittances, Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice at the World Bank. In a career spanning three decades, he has done pioneering work on remittances, migration, and innovative financing (diaspora bonds, future-flow securitization, shadow sovereign ratings). His TED talk, with over 1.4 million views, has inspired many fintech start-ups. He is the Founder of KNOMAD, Migrating out of Poverty Research Program Consortium, and African Institute of Remittances. He has a Ph.D. in economics from Indian Statistical Institute.

Eric Jacobstein
United States Agency for International Development

Eric Jacobstein is a senior advisor in the Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean at USAID. Prior to that role, he was a senior policy advisor on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs managing the Western Hemisphere portfolio for Chairman Eliot Engel and Committee Democrats. In this role, he was the lead Democratic advisor handling issues related to Latin America and the Caribbean in the House of Representatives. Jacobstein previously served as the staff director of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control working for Senator Dianne Feinstein. Before that, he worked for the House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere and for Representative Jim Kolbe.

Isis Gaddis
The World Bank

Isis Gaddis is a senior economist with the World Bank’s Gender Group. She previously served as a poverty economist for Tanzania, based in Dar es Salaam. Isis coauthored the 2016 World Bank Africa Region flagship report Poverty in a Rising Africa and was a member of the core team of the Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report 2018: Piecing Together the Poverty Puzzle. Her main research interest is empirical microeconomics, with a focus on the measurement and analysis of poverty and inequality, gender, labor, and public service delivery. She holds a PhD in economics from the University of Gӧttingen, where she was a member of the development economics research group from 2006 to 2012

Jaime R. Diaz Palacios
Central American Bank for Economic Integration

Since November 2020, Mr. Jaime Roberto Diaz Palacios is serving as Executive Vice President of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI). He has a solid professional career with more than 15 years in the field of Economics and Finance for Development, holding the positions of Executive Director of the National Competitiveness Program (Pronacom) and Economist at the Center for National Economic Research in the Republic of Guatemala (2012 - 2015). He most recently served as Senior Advisor to the Executive Director of World Bank (2015 - 2019).

Kieran Walsh

Kieran Walsh is a senior statistician in the labour force survey methodology team at the ILO Department of Statistics. The primary focus of his work is developing guidance and providing training and support to countries on the application of the latest standards and good measurement practices for labour in household surveys. Prior to joining the ILO in 2014 Kieran worked for 13 years in the Central Statistics Office of Ireland, covering many topics including labour market and earnings, consumer prices and household income and living conditions, before taking the role of Director of Business Statistics.

Taimur Samad
The World Bank

Taimur Samad is a Program Leader for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure for The World Bank in Colombia and Venezuela Office. He joined the Bank as a Consultant in 2001 working in the transport and Urban development unit. His most recent position has been as Program leader for sustainable development in Jakarta Country office, previously he coordinated the Urban program in Indonesia Office, leading complex multisector loan- and advisory projects. He has an extensive experience in Latin America and the Caribbean Region (LCR), even as a project leader in Colombia for about five years.