Category Archives: Interview

Expert Michele Bruni says: African mass emigration is not an option, but unavoidable.

In an interview with GLO President Klaus F. Zimmermann in Beijing, Michele Bruni, Team Leader and Resident Expert of the EU-China Social Protection Reform Project, outlines that the world will see large, unstoppable demographic imbalances causing substantial challenges. It will in particular involve China, Europe and Africa. Only managed migration and educational efforts can help to deal with this.

GLO Fellow Michele Bruni, Team Leader and Resident Expert of the EU-China Social Protection Reform Project, Beijing.

Michele Bruni holds a Laurea in Political Sciences from the University of Florence and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. He has taught at the Universities of Calabria, Bologna, and Modena. He is a Fellow of  the Global Labor Organization (GLO) and member of the Center for the Analysis of Public Policies of the Faculty of Economics “M. Biagi”, University of Modena (CAPP). At present, Bruni lives in Beijing where he is Team Leader and Resident Expert of the EU-China Social Protection Reform Project. For more than twenty five years he has participated as labor market expert in numerous EU, ADB and WB funded projects in Eastern Europe, Africa and South East Asia countries. In his research, Bruni has focused on the development of stock and flow models and their application to the analysis of labor market and migration.

QUESTION: Your research seems to suggest that the world will soon experience the largest demographic imbalances that mankind has ever seen. What do you mean by this?

During this century, the growth of working age population will level off as a consequence of the unstoppable demographic transition. But this will result from two opposite tendencies:  the working age population of (i) an increasing number of countries will sharply decline, and (ii) of an decreasing number of countries, the poorest ones, it will explode. This is an unprecedented demographic polarization due to the very different stages countries are currently in the demographic transition.

Over the next 40 years, the world’s working age population will increase from 4.85 billion to 6.21 billion, this is a rise of 1.36 billion people and 28%. This results from positive balances of 1.9 billion and negative balances of 524 million people. The shrinking areas are lead by China with a share of 48.1%, followed by Europe (25.6%), Asia excluding China (18.2%), Latin America (4.1%), and the new world countries (USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) with only 3.8%. The positive balances will be concentrated in Africa (56.8%) and in Asia (37.6 %).

QUESTION: Although both shrinking and aging, China and Europe plan to play the “fortress game”. Will this be sustainable?

In absence of migration the working age population of Europe will decline by 134 million and that of China by 252 million over the next 4 decades. Can Europe and China really continue on their path of economic growth and social development without migrants? Is technological change capable to increase productivity as then needed?

The idea that AI and robots will produce a dramatic decline of labor needs has been put forward by gurus of the new technologies, economists, and obviously politicians. However, this is not supported by empirical evidence, it is static and ignores second order effects. Computer-based technologies may destroy jobs, but may also create new ones. Furthermore, the human mind has what appears to be a limitless capacity and fantasy to “invent” new needs and a limitless capacity to invent and produce new goods to satisfy them. It seems therefore evident that for Europe, China – and other numerous countries like Japan and Korea that will experience an even more dramatic decline of working age population – mass immigration is not an option, but a necessity.

To play the “fortress game” by exploiting irrational fears and ignore how the labor market works and how strong the demographic trends are would be totally irrational. Moreover, this game would be undermined by the market itself that will find a way to satisfy its labor needs. At the same time it is difficult to believe that Africa, a continent plagued by war, endemic problems of corruption, and a low educational level will be able to outperform the Chinese economic miracle and create over a 40 year period the more than 700 million jobs necessary to satisfy its increase of labor supply. Therefore, African mass emigration is not an option, but unavoidable.

QUESTION:  Would global collaboration help, and could educational investments be part of a solution?

The demographic polarization contains the potential solution to the problems it generates: The structural need of labor of the countries in the last phase of the demographic transition will correspond a structural excess of labor in the countries in the first phase. However, it is unrealistic that in the present political context immigration countries will open their countries sufficiently allowing the market to do the matching. In my work, I have suggested a cooperative management of migration flows recognizing that arrival countries will almost only need migrants with a medium or high level of education. Hence, the necessary education and vocational training should be financed by the immigration countries and organized by a specialized international organization in the origin countries.

QUESTION: How can China and Europe cooperate, and could they absorb African excess supply of labor?

Europe and China cannot absorb the huge rise in the job-seeking African population, but significantly reduce the burden of job-creation there to less than 400 million. Still a large number, but together with the Chinese infrastructure initiatives the proposed educational activities could help to give the African continent a push. This analysis also suggest that Europe, China and other Asian countries could join forces to maximize the potential of demand-driven migrations, while given its location and rich experience in this field, Europe could take the role of the “training center” of the project.

QUESTION: So the face of migration in the future is “African”?

Human history has already recorded two “out of Africa” migrations. It is a matter of speculation whether those early migrations were due to economic reasons or, as I suspect, to one of the basic characteristic of primates, curiosity. This century will record the third out of Africa migration, but this time migrants will be pulled by the labor needs of Europe and Asia.

GLO Experts Bruni & Zimmermann debating the facts and the policy options in a Beijing coffee shop

References

Bruni, Michele (2017), Egypt Labour market report. Demographic trends, labour market evolution and scenarios for the period 2015-30, International Organization for Migration, Cairo.

Bruni, Michele (2017), Promoting a Common Understanding of Migration Trends. Analysis and Policies, International Organization for Migration, Cairo.

Bruni, Michele (2018), Ageing, the socioeconomic burden, labour market and migration. The Chinese case in an international perspectiveDownload PDF, GLO Discussion Paper No. 222.

Cervellati, Matteo, Uwe Sunde & Klaus F. Zimmermann, Demographic Dynamics and Long-Run Development: Insights for the Secular Stagnation Debate, Working Paper #604, Princeton University, Industrial Relations Section, UNU – MERIT Working Paper # 2016-049, ZEF Discussion Papers on Development Policy #226 & CEPR Discussion Paper DP 11569. Published:  Journal of Population Economics , Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 401–432; DOI: 10.1007/s00148-016-0626-8.

Zimmermann, Klaus F. et al. (2013), Youth Unemployment and Vocational Training, Foundations and Trends® in Microeconomics 9, 1-157.

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Oded Galor of Brown University becomes Editor of the Journal of Population Economics. Interview with Galor about Unified Growth Theory and journal editing.

On 1 July 2018, Oded Galor becomes Editor of the Journal of Population Economics following Erdal Tekin, who has taken the position of Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM) (see for further details). For an interview with Oded Galor see below.

Oded Galor (Herbert H. Goldberger Professor of Economics at Brown University) is the founder of Unified Growth Theory. He has contributed to the understanding of process of development over the entire course of human history and the role of deep-rooted factors in the transition from stagnation to growth and in the emergence of the vast inequality across the globe. He has pioneered the exploration of the impact of human evolution, population diversity, and inequality on the process of development and his interdisciplinary research has redirected research in the field of economic growth to the exploration of the long shadow of history and to the role of biogeographical and demographic forces in comparative economic development.

The Journal of Population of Economics is the top journal in the field of population economics. It is an international research journal that publishes original theoretical and applied contributions on the economics of population, household, and human resources. It is owned by Springer Nature and operates from POP at UNU-MERIT, Maastricht, The Netherlands. It is published in collaboration with the Global Labor Organization (GLO) and the European Society for Population Economics (ESPE).

The Journal of Population Economics is one of the top ranked Springer Nature journals in economics. In 2017 it has published 40 research papers out of 524 submissions, which implies a 92.4% final rejection rate. Submissions have significantly increased, eg. doubled in the last decade from below 300 to nearly 600 this year. The impact factor has increased from 0.5 in 2007 to an expected 1.3 in 2017. For more details of the actual performance of the journal  see this post and the just published Report of the Editor-in-Chief 2018.

Journal of Population Economics

Number of Submissions to the Journal of Population Economics:

Journal of Economic Growth

Oded Galor is the Founding Editor of the Journal of Economic Growth also owned by Springer Nature and will remain in the position of Editor of this outlet. The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM) is the top field journal in public policy and published on behalf of the Association for Public Policy and Management (APPAM). It has been ranked number 21 for 2016 among economics journals by the impact factor (IF: 3.415) with Journal of Economic Growth rank 20 (IF: 3.440) and Econometrica rank 22 (IF: 3.379). Oded Galor and Klaus F. Zimmermann see a large strategic benefit for both the Journal of Economic Growth and the Journal of Population Economics in a close collaboration.

As Editor-in-Chief Klaus F. Zimmermann, who is also the GLO President, stated:

“Oded is a legendary figure, both as top researcher and an admired journal editor. He has already served for decades as Associate Editor of the Journal of Population Economics and understands the relevance and context of our work. Sandro Cigno, Junsen Zhang, Michaella Vanore and I are very excited to work with him. We all share the same ambitions and the expectations to make the Journal of Population Economics an even more influential academic outlet of the field.”

Interview with Oded Galor

  1. What makes population economics an exciting field of analysis for a leading researcher in the field of economic growth?

Oded Galor: The transition from an epoch of stagnation to an era of sustained economic growth has marked the onset of one of the most remarkable transformations in the course of human history. While living standards in the world economy stagnated during the millennia preceding the Industrial Revolution, income per capita has undergone an unprecedented tenfold increase over the past two centuries, profoundly altering the level and distribution of education, health, and wealth across the globe. The rise in the standard of living has not been universally shared among individuals and societies. Variation in the timing of the take-off from stagnation to growth has led to a vast worldwide divergence in income per capita. Inequality, which had been modest until the nineteenth century, has widened considerably, and the ratio of income per capita between the richest and the poorest regions of the world has been magnified.

Throughout most of human existence, the process of development was marked by Malthusian stagnation. Resources generated by technological progress and land expansion were channeled primarily toward an increase in the size of the population, providing only a glacial contribution to the level of income per capita in the long run. Cross-country technological differences were reflected in variations population densities, and their effect on variation in living standards was merely transitory. In contrast, over the past two centuries, various regions of the world have departed from the Malthusian trap and have witnessed a considerable increase in growth rates of income per capita. The decline in population growth over the course of the demographic transition has liberated productivity gains from the counterbalancing effect of population growth and enabled technological progress and human capital formation to pave the way for the emergence of an era of sustained economic growth.

Thus, the pivotal role of population dynamics in the transition from Malthusian stagnation to sustained economic growth and the emergence of vast inequality across nations, makes the study of population economics central for the understanding of the growth process.

  1. What attracted a leading scholar in the field of economic growth to the Journal of Population Economics?

Oded Galor: In light of the importance of demographic forces in the understanding of the process of development and the vast inequality across the globe, the Journal of Population Economics is in a unique position to make a significant contribution in the understanding of this important relationship.

  1. What kind of research do you wish to attract to the Journal of Population Economics?

Oded Galor: I would like to encourage the submission of research papers that are centered around:

  • The causes and the consequences of the demographic transition
  • Population diversity and economic development
  • Human evolution and the process of development
  • The interaction between population and economic growth
  • Population dynamism in the Malthusian epoch

 

Picture below: Managing Editor Michaella Vanore and Klaus F. Zimmermann working intensively together at UNU-MERIT, Maastricht.

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Erdal Tekin (American University) leaves position as Editor of the Journal of Population Economics. Followed by Oded Galor of Brown University. Interview with Erdal Tekin about public policy research and journal editing.

On 1 July 2018, Erdal Tekin becomes the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM). His role as Editor of the Journal of Population Economics will be taken by Oded Galor. For an interview with Erdal Tekin see below.

Erdal Tekin is a Professor of Public Policy in the School of Public Affairs at American University. He is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and a Fellow of the Global Labor Organization (GLO). His research focuses on health economics and the economics of crime.  More information about Erdal Tekin’s research and his other professional activities can be found on www.erdaltekin.com.

The Journal of Population of Economics is the top journal in the field of population economics. It is an international research journal that publishes original theoretical and applied contributions on the economics of population, household, and human resources. It is owned by Springer Nature and operates from POP at UNU-MERIT, Maastricht, The Netherlands. It is published in collaboration with the Global Labor Organization (GLO) and the European Society for Population Economics (ESPE).

The Journal of Population Economics is one of the top ranked Springer Nature journals in economics. In 2017 it has published 40 research papers out of 524 submissions, which implies a 92.4% final rejection rate. Submissions have significantly increased, eg. doubled in the last decade from below 300 to nearly 600 this year. The impact factor has increased from 0.5 in 2007 to an expected 1.3 in 2017. For more details of the actual performance of the journal  see this post and the just published Report of the Editor-in-Chief 2018.

Number of Submissions to the Journal of Population Economics:

The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM) is the top field journal in public policy and published on behalf of the Association for Public Policy and Management (APPAM). It has been ranked number 21 for 2016 among economics journals by the impact factor (IF: 3.415) with Journal of Economic Growth rank 20 (IF: 3.440) and Econometrica rank 22 (IF: 3.379).

Erdal Tekin has served as an Editor for the Journal of Population Economics between 2000 and 2018 together with the acting editors Alessandro Cigno and Junsen Zhang and Editor-in-Chief Klaus F. Zimmermann. For nearly two decades, Erdal Tekin took responsibility for papers dealing with risky behavior, family and labor. Together with the full team, he considerably shaped the profile and extraordinary success of the Journal of Population Economics. He also supported the development of the European Society of Population Economics (ESPE) by contributing to their annual meetings and making the connections to the local team organizing the very successful 2015 annual ESPE congress at Izmir University of Economics, Izmir, Turkey.

As Editor-in-Chief Klaus F. Zimmermann, who is also the GLO President, stated:

“Erdal has been of invaluable help in developing new areas like risky behavior for the journal, ensuring the highest quality standards and always providing the requested team spirit. The remaining editorial team is grateful for his long-term contributions and will miss his advice, ambitions and inspirations. We wish him all the best in his new role as Editor-in-Chief  of this major journal, JPAM.”

The appointment of Oded Galor of Brown University as Editor of the Journal of Population Economics will be detailed in a separate post!

Interview with Erdal Tekin

Questions are by Klaus F. Zimmermann.

  1. What makes policy research so important at this historical time?

Erdal Tekin: The U.S. society and many societies across the globe are facing an increasingly complex set of pressing problems, ranging from climate change and health care to immigration and gun violence.  Unfortunately, we sometimes see that the so-called solutions to these problems are debated or evaluated through the lenses of ideology and faith. These non-scientific approaches both prolong these problems and make any remedial efforts later less likely to succeed and much costlier for the public. This is unfortunate because, thanks to the analytic tools developed by social scientists and the availability of large scale and rich data sources, we are in a position to identify effective and efficient solutions to many of these problems today. What we need is less ideology and more data-driven, evidence based approaches that are formulated based upon on policy research.

  1. What does one learn from journal editing?

Erdal Tekin: Editing a journal is a big job – it is extremely time consuming and comes with tremendous responsibility. But at the same time, it is a very gratifying experience to be at a position where you can have an influence the way in which your discipline evolves.  In my own experience serving as an editor for the Journal of Population Economics for more than eight years, I have learned tremendously from reading hundreds of papers and thousands of referee reports, which has improved my sense of what constitutes good scientific work.  As a result, I believe, or I hope, that I have become a better researcher myself. Editing a journal also forces one to become more disciplined, organized, and patient.

  1. What kind of research do you wish to attract to the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management?

Erdal Tekin: The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM) already enjoys a well-deserved reputation of publishing innovative and empirically rigorous research that meets the highest standards of scholarship across disciplines and policy domains.  JPAM is not only the most visible journal in the academic community concerned with issues related to public policy and management, but it is also one of the most prominent journals across all social sciences with respect to its reputation and impact factor. I view it as my utmost critical responsibility to ensure that the journal continues to advance in its current trajectory and solidify its reputation as the “go to” outlet for the very best scientific contributions in public policy and management. Accordingly, a key goal of my editorship would be to continue practices that ensure that priorities of high quality and inclusivity of various disciplines and policy domains are met. The vision of JPAM that I embrace is one that emphasizes high standards, wide visibility and impact, inclusivity, and diversity.

Editorial meeting during the 2015 annual ESPE congress at Izmir University of Economics, Izmir, Turkey. From the left: Sandro Cigno, Klaus F. Zimmermann, Katharina Wetzel-Vandai (Economics Editor of Springer Nature) and Erdal Tekin.

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GLO President Zimmermann on Tour Through Europe: Nicosia, Glasgow, Vienna and St Petersburg

In recent weeks, the President of the Global Labor Organization (GLO), Klaus F. Zimmermann (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University & Bonn University) has been on a contact tour through Europe for talks, research seminar presentations and policy debates.

  • February 14 – 17, 2018: Nicosia and the University of Cyprus to study the border situation and intensify university connections.   See for more details.
  • February 21-22, 2018: Glasgow/Scotland and the University of Strathclyde. Contacts and Research Seminar presentation of Zimmermann on Arsenic water consumption and wellbeing in Bangladesh on the invitation of GLO Fellow Robert Wright and Markus Gehrsitz.
  • February 26, 2018: Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, Vienna/Austria: Conference on the “The European Labor Market – between Unemployment and Shortages of Skilled Labor”. Zimmermann gave a speech on “Challenges and Chances of the free European Mobility of Workers” and participated on a Plenary Panel about the labor markets of Austria, Poland and Romania. Many interactions, among others with Christoph Leidl, the President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, and GLO Fellow Rainer Münz (European Political Strategy Centre, European Commission, Brussels). See for more details.
  • February 27, 2018: Policy Panel in Vienna/Austria of DIE WEIS[S]E WIRTSCHAFT in the Press Center Concordia on Migration and Integration Policy of the new Austrian Government. Panel organized by GLO Fellow Peter Brandner. Zimmermann discussed among others with GLO Fellows Robert Holzmann and Manfred Deistler. See for more details.
  • March 1 -2, 2018: St Petersburg/Russia. Zimmermann spoke on the Second International Labour Forum of the Government of St. Petersburg on “The design of effective labor market policies“. See for more details.

Below: Zimmermann in St Petersburg, Russia.

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Nauro Campos on the Perspectives of Comparative Economics

Nauro Campos has recently been appointed Editor of the prominent research journal Comparative Economic Studies. He is Professor of Economics at Brunel University London and Research Professor at ETH-Zürich. He is also a Fellow of the Global Labor Organization (GLO). His main research interests include political economy and European integration. Prof. Campos works with a new Editorial Board. We have asked him about his perspectives for this challenging new role.

GLO: Soviet studies, transition economics, new global challenges: What is Comparative Economics today?

Nauro Campos: Comparative economics is today in the cusp of becoming, once again, a really vibrant and exciting research area. Think of institutions 20 years ago, or economic history 10 years ago, and that gives you an idea where comparative economics is today. The Comparative Economic Studies journal (CES) tries to reflect that. It welcomes both submissions that are obviously comparative and case studies of single countries or of regions. It is looking for papers that investigate how economic systems respond to economic structural changes and crises, whether these are brought about by globalization, demographics, institutions, technology, politics, and/or the environment. CES is an economics journal, but is one that openly welcomes contributions from political scientists, historians and sociologists, to name a few selected disciplines.  In order to accommodate these aspirations, the new Editorial team has broadened the journal’s regional focus and has changed its mission and objectives accordingly.

GLO: Did you change the regional focus of Comparative Economic Studies?

Nauro Campos: Yes. CES is a journal of the Association of Comparative Economic Studies which when it started out, in the Cold War years of the 1960s to 1980s, was mostly concerned with what one may call “issues of the Soviet economy.” After the fall of the Berlin Wall, CES became a crucial outlet for work on the transition away from central planning. It focused on the Central European and the Former Soviet Union countries.  While working hard to maintain this prominent position, the regional focus and scope of CES has now been further enlarged to encompass other areas as well. There is a lot of interest in comparative economics today in European Union as a whole and the journal is very attentive to that. Moreover, the scope has been even further broadened to include studies about Asian, Latin American, and African experiences.

GLO: How will you combine research articles with the mission to connect Comparative Economic Studies to important policy debates?

Nauro Campos: As I said, the new editorial team has made some substantial changes in the mission of the journal as well as on its more specific goals. The overall idea is to move the journal, slowly but surely, towards it becoming an outlet in the mould of the Journal of Economic Perspectives. Think of it as a JEP-style comparative economics outlet; that is what the journal wants to be in the medium-term. We want to publish papers that offer original political economy analysis from a comparative perspective. Papers that are a truly accessible source for state-of-the-art comparative economics thinking. Articles that genuinely encourage cross-fertilization of ideas from various disciplines and that are the forefront of the debate of the directions for future research in comparative studies. But we also want papers that provide materials and insights that become useful and relevant for teaching, for the public policy debate and for the media. This change makes CES quite unique, so we will not be competing with other journals but mostly complementing their work, and the link to policy and to policy debates should become quite natural and hopefully quite strong.

GLO: Thank you very much and good luck with your new venture!

Professor Nauro Campos

Bio note:  Nauro Campos is Professor of Economics at Brunel University London and Research Professor at ETH-Zürich. Previously he taught at the Universities Paris 1 Sorbonne, Newcastle, CERGE-EI and Warwick. He was a Fulbright Fellow at Johns Hopkins and Robert McNamara Fellow. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (Los Angeles) in 1997, where he was lucky enough to learn about institutions from Jeff Nugent and Jim Robinson and (more than) happy to be Dick Easterlin’s RA for three years.

Note: The questions for GLO have been asked by Klaus F. Zimmermann.

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