Category Archives: Policy

WageIndicator celebrates twenty years of activity: Congratulations to Director Pauline Osse and her global teams! Interview with Pauline Osse.

This year, the WageIndicator movement, Pauline Osse and the WageIndicator Foundation with all the teams in so many participating countries, can celebrate 20 years of successful activities around the globe. We take this opportunity to congratulate a great volunteer institution that has contributed to global transparency, understanding and well-being. We have asked the Director a few question about her organization and its work.

The Interview

Pauline Osse

Director Pauline Osse has been a journalist for all her life. She worked for various magazines, the Dutch trade union and as a freelancer before she created the WageIndicator movement.

Now, the WageIndicator Foundation is a global player producing an international trademark.

In 2017, Pauline Osse and her organization were supporters of the newly created Global Labor Organization (GLO) from the first hour.

GLO: To collect wage microdata through the internet was quite innovative two decades ago. What was the origin of your initiative?

The first trigger was the insight that working people everywhere lacked access to adequate wage information. This became clear to me back in 1999 when I set up the website for the Dutch trade unions. People wanted to know ‘what should I earn, what can I ask, what is the going market rate for someone like me, trucker, cleaning lady?’ And the unions could not give that information. What the Collective Agreement said, yes, maybe, but not the real wage the market would pay. For the real wages one needed large scale research. And nobody did this for a lower level then CEO’s.

The second trigger was a small benchmark tool available online at the time for the Dutch highly educated white male employee. But what about me, a working women? And what about all the other working women, taking care for our children, houses, family? Why only information for the rich and highly educated? What about vulnerable groups at the lower end of the labor market? And indeed, what about labor markets in poorer countries? Why wasn’t there such a benchmark tool for everyone?

So I got in touch with Kea Tijdens, a specialist in gender studies at the University of Amsterdam and we sat together. Kea is great at designing surveys and knows how to structure data sets and handle microdata. I knew a bit about the internet already. We put 2 and 2 together and came up with our first online survey. It was 2000, the internet was still young. But it worked. The data we collected was enough to build a salary check, reflecting the real wages for specific occupations. We put our salary check online as a benchmark on a dedicated website and promoted it. This worked too. Ever since we have been refining and extending the salary check, the occupations covered, and the number of national websites. After 20 years – and over 100 countries –  the salary check is still very much at the core of our activities.

GLO: You are about to become a truly global player. What brought the breakthrough and what are the major products?

We did not stop at collecting microdata on real wages and – later – cost of living. Our websites today have much more to offer than just microdata. We offer statutory minimum wages, we have living wages for countries and regions within, we have a full text – and coded Collective Agreement-database and sample Collective Agreements to draw on, we have built and keep extending a country specific labor law database with tailor-made information on social security and the like, now covering 100 countries. Every step, every extension has been a response to what our web visitors told us they needed. The pressing problems of people we met in the field while doing offline research were also key in directing our work.

Our work essentially is piecemeal engineering, really. So it is difficult to pinpoint breakthroughs. But, as I remember it, a few moments stand out. Take for instance our first extension abroad. In 2004 we rolled out national WageIndicator websites in 9 European countries. All had a salary check, our prime product. That first extension abroad may be called a breakthrough: our idea worked there too!

By then we had already decided that every next step, every extension should be designed and constructed in such a way that all data was internally consistent and compatible. Right from the start every tool we use has been of our own making to make sure that all data and all information we elaborate adds up and is internationally comparable. All data is coded, all clauses are annotated. As a result of this early decision, today, as we speak, we run similar operations in over 100 countries. And we hope to serve people in 150 countries in 2020.

I also remember vividly Paraguay 2006. We met trade union members there, very poor people, and explained what we were doing. Their reaction was: what is this talk about minimum wage, maximum wage. The maximum here is the minimum wage, if we get it at all. And we don’t even know what the minimum is! If there ever was an eye opener, it was this one. So we started our collection of minimum wages and we started it in India, with its highly complex patchwork of minimum wages. Today, as a result, we offer the largest minimum wage database in the world within easy reach of everyone, anywhere, including Paraguay. On average each month 50,000 people consult our website there: in Paraguay alone! And a majority visit the minimum wage page first.

Around 2010 it became clear that living wage data was in great demand too. But how to come by living wages? What is a living wage? I thought that the best reference would have been the wages from Collective Agreements. If anything, that wage level should be enough to guarantee a decent living. If one supposed that the legal minimum wage was too low, then one might use the Collective Agreement-wages as a benchmark to eventually arrive at living wages. We should therefore offer a simple negotiating tool, based on existing Collective Agreements. This internal discussion resulted in two databases that we added to our salary check, minimum wages and labor law database: a living wage concept of our own design and a Collective Agreement-database from which we derive sample Collective Agreements.

Which brings me to our Decent Work Check. It is based on labor law and has been inspired by people’s pressing needs. During 2007 and 2008 in a dozen or so countries in Latin America, East and West Africa we organized fact finding sessions in remote rural areas. In order to structure the debate we handed out a small questionnaire. It took participants a few minutes to fill out by ticking multiple choice boxes. The answers added up to a score. This score told them right away where they stood in terms of compliance with working conditions as in their national labor law. Ten years later this tried and tested tool has been used to create a factory-level survey for both Indonesia and Ethiopia, where it has been applied to conduct face-to-face interviews with workers and hr-staff in the garment sector. After consultation with factory owners the compliance-with-the-law-results are published as factory pages on our national websites in those two countries. The factory pages are seen as so called Worker Driven Social Responsibility.  

GLO: Nowadays, WageIndicator is a trademark. But it is not protected, so how do you survive?

Well, I don’t know about the trademark, I couldn’t tell. But in Holland, after 20 years, we surely are a household-name. And we know that our data is widely drawn upon and used by policy makers, many small employers, multinationals, journalists and academics. Even after 20 years, we stick to our policy of putting all our data online as soon as we have double checked that it is accurate, factual and up to date. We just have to offer more than others, be faster, better and transparent.

We always try to come up with creative answers to people’s questions, even like: if you can do this, can you also do that? Such questions also come from governments and multinationals, but these don’t pay always. They simply assume that the data we publish is for free, since it is published. Doing projects together is one way to raise income. Selling data another.

GLO: Your venture has limited funds. So one does not get rich working for WageIndicator. How do you keep the spirit alive?

We want our data to reach as many people as possible. We are motivated by the urge to liberate the ordinary working women and men through empowerment by providing them with clear cut information that helps them in taking their own decisions. To never take no for an answer. So that they no longer depend on their parents, the trade union, the government or any other authority to tell them what is possible and what not.

This questioning reflex surely comes from journalism, my trade. Why don’t workers automatically get the information from the Collective Agreements concluded on their behalf, why do we have to unearth legal minimum wage information and decipher labor law? Why is is not made accessible in understandable language in the first place? This information belongs to the people, by definition. It is unfair to keep it from them. The way we present it makes them say: ah, now I understand what is in the law for me, finally. And: I feel respected, thank you for that. This certainly motivates our team.

We are an internet-based micro multinational. Our team spirit is highly entrepreneurial. We are builders. The gender angle that has been with us from the beginning is reflected in the composition of our global team. Most have children. We make our own creative flow. If we have the money, we invest in improvement and extension. If we have less money we continue building and updating anyhow. You can also look at us as a family enterprise. Even when some cherished team members leave us, because of an attractive job offer elsewhere, they keep in touch with the family, and continue with us by offering coaching and mentorship for free, for ever. They stay with us in the same spirit. We are all about diversity and inclusion. And the fact that in our daily work we do something meaningful to liberate simple working people by giving them the information they need, is a binding force as well.

GLO: What next innovations may we expect?

Perfect websites, perfect databases in 150 countries, many countries with good Collective Agreement databases, factory pages giving overviews of compliance with the labor law. And a platform with social protection tools for the platform workers.

The interview partner from GLO has been Klaus F. Zimmermann.

Share and Compare Wages, Labor Laws and Career

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The cold Brexit is most likely to come: What does it mean for the rest of Europe? Martin Kahanec and Klaus F. Zimmermann of GLO analyze the situation.

Stability in a dramatic phase of instability: Theresa May remains Prime Minister in a parliamentary vote the day after she has experienced “the largest defeat for a sitting government in history” on her Brexit deal with the EU in the British Parliament on Tuesday night (January 15, 2019). The country is deeply divided, the political system looks like a lame duck. What are the consequences for continental Europe?

Some people argue that the Brexit situation and the uncertainty will also harm the countries on the European continent. But there are also chances to develop Europe better. Martin Kahanec and Klaus F. Zimmermann have written broadly on European integration and the role of migration. Next to many scientific contributions and policy studies, they have also written some books together on the topic. Their views on the situation are below.

A recent survey among 1,693 adults in the UK has investigated the options for the situation after a rejection of May’s Brexit deal. The “no-deal”, cold Brexit is expected by 35%, while a “second referendum” ranks only third with 21% behind 23% for “don’t know”.

Martin Kahanec is a Professor and Head of the School of Public Policy at the Central European University in Budapest. He is Founder and Scientific Director of CELSI, Bratislava, a Chairperson of the Slovak Economic Association and Fellow of the Global Labor Organization (GLO).

Klaus F. Zimmermann is Professor Emeritus of Bonn University, Honorary Professor of Maastricht University, the Free University of Berlin and Renmin University of China, Beijing. He is Co-Director of POP at UNU-MERIT, Maastricht, and President of the Global Labor Organization (GLO).

The Views

GLO: Are you surprised about the large rejection of the Brexit deal?

Martin Kahanec: The landslide is perhaps a bit surprising, but there are several well-defined groups who had every reason to vote against the Brexit deal. One group are those, mainly from the Labor camp, who oppose May, or saw a “nay” as the only way to have a second referendum, or both. Among those who wish for a second referendum are probably a good number of conservatives, too. The other group is composed of those, primarily conservatives, who consider it a bad deal, not protecting the UK’s interests adequately. And then there is the DUP, who oppose the Northern Ireland backstop. It is hard to imagine a deal that would be accepted by some majority in the House of Commons and by the 27 EU member states as well, and with May investing very little in cross-party consensus building, the “nay” result was to be expected.

Klaus F. Zimmermann: Yes, this is kind of a Kamikaze behavior, untypical for a Parliament at fairly normal times. It has been know that the British MPs are quite critical about the EU, and the UK was never a friend of a political union in Europe. An acceptance of the May deal with the EU would have finalized the move out on March 29, at least on paper. Once out, one could have acted more radical. Now those responsible have to fear that the potentially large damage of a cold Brexit generates a stronger desire for a second referendum.

GLO: What do you expect to happen now, general elections, a new referendum, a cold Brexit, or else?

Martin Kahanec: I have no crystal ball. I hope for a new referendum, resulting in the UK remaining in the EU. With Corbyn as a staunch Brexiter at the helm of Labor, one important question is what is needed for him to reflect on the preferences of the majority of his party’s constituency, and turn Labor determinedly in favor of Remain. Whereas postponing Brexit by several months can give some time for what I see as forces of reason to take their effects, I am also afraid that a prolonged agony may further deepen the cleavages and sharpen the tensions in the British society, furthering its polarization, and leaving little space for consensus building. But a cross-party consensus, and strong leadership of the Speaker of the House, are very much needed to avoid a crash-Brexit and explore the options for a new deal or a second, possibly binding referendum.

Klaus F. Zimmermann: Now Theresa May wants to speak with all sides among the MPs. This seems a bit too late. Everybody in the Parliament fears general elections, not even the labor party can be sure to win in such a divided situation. The country is split in two nearly equal blocks with opposite positions. It is not even obvious that a second referendum will bring a strong majority for one side. Hence, my best guess is that the outcome is a cold Brexit. However, I think that this would be really a big problem. With such an important decision with very long-term consequences for the well – being of the people it is not a shame to think twice and to correct a mistake.

GLO: What are the consequences for Europe?

Martin Kahanec: On the one hand, the rejection of the deal is a lifeline for Remain hopes. On the other hand, the ultimate outcome is as unclear as ever. This uncertainty is very unhelpful for the European economy. If the UK leaves the EU, the economic consequences for the EU (and even more so for the UK) will be very much on the negative side. In particular, it will be a major challenge for the eastern member states of the EU. Hundreds of thousands of eastern Europeans work in the UK. Some of them will consider returning to their home countries. As they are primarily young, and have acquired many hard and soft skills in the UK, their return would help the labor markets and public budgets back home. However, they would likely be less productive in their home countries than in the UK, and so their incomes would go down. This and the reduced interstate mobility would also decrease productivity in Europe and hurt its capacity to absorb economic shocks. An abrupt return of large numbers of workers to the sending countries could exceed the capacity of their labor markets, social security and health care systems, and social services to absorb them, creating temporary congestion and resulting in tensions between returnees and their compatriots. The UK will also be hurt: it will lose many thousands of skilled, hard working men and women and talented students from eastern Europe. The UK is also a major trading partner and source of investment for the eastern member states. Brexit would significantly reduce the gains from that trade and investment for both parties.

Klaus F. Zimmermann: Never waste a crisis! Europe has better things to do, but forced to adjust there are two potentials: First, in the likely case of a cold Brexit, the damage for the UK will be substantial, and also the remaining EU will suffer. At least Scotland will try to leave the UK and seek to join the EU. This will signal to the 27 member states that it does not pay to leave. Further, it increases the incentives to develop the EU stronger and faster, in particular since the UK was always hesitant about a stronger political and economic integration and can no longer object. Second, if a cold Brexit does not happen because the British MPs fear the consequences, another referendum is likely. It can lead to a “Remain” and start a cultural change in the UK, where the British people better understand the benefits of the larger European Union. The EU could then be more dynamic than it otherwise would have been.

A recent survey among 1,693 adults in the UK has investigated the options for the situation after a rejection of May’s Brexit deal. The “no-deal”, cold Brexit is expected by 35%, while a “second referendum” ranks only third with 21% behind 23% for “don’t know”.

Reference Link.

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GLO-Interview with Alfredo Toro Hardy about his new book on the Latin American view of the future of globalization

The book: The Crossroads of Globalization. A Latin American View. December 2018, 232 pages: World Scientific. More Info.

The author: Alfredo Toro Hardy. GLO Fellow, Venezuelan Scholar and Diplomat. More Info.

The Interviewer: Klaus F. Zimmermann/GLO President. Hardy and Zimmermann have been both Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Resident Scholars in Fall 2017. Zimmermann has written the Preface in the book: Text.

Alfredo Toro Hardy and Klaus F. Zimmermann enjoying a lovely evening in the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in 2017

GLO: Globalization seems to be under political pressure around the globe. How does it affect Latin America?

Alfredo Toro Hardy: Two powerful forces are measuring their strength by acting upon globalization.  One of them pushes globalization forward, while the other hinders its advance and promotes its demise. At this point in time, it is not clear which of them will end up prevailing.

China’s economic umbrella and Asia’s middle class, whose expansion is estimated to represent 80 percent of the world’s middle class increase up to 2030, remain as the fundamental driving forces of globalization. On the other hand, though, we find populism and the displacement that disruptive technologies bring with them. While populism creates boundaries and discourages free trade, the Fourth Industrial Revolution advances towards a decoupling between developed and developing economies. Under these two very different but converging impulses, globalization is bound to loose ground.

Uncertainty hinders Latin America’s strategic vision. If the future entailed a re-launching of globalization, it would seem obvious that the region should follow along its lines, positioning itself in the best possible terms so as to increase its potential benefits. However, if globalization is entering into a declining phase, Latin America would need to look for options.

Latin America faces, therefore, not only a dramatic uncertainty as a result of forces beyond its control, but also the need to anticipate, to the best of its abilities, unforeseen events to which it will have to act or react upon.

GLO: How can Latin America adapt best in the future?

Alfredo Toro Hardy: As said, Latin America finds itself at the crossroads of the pro and the anti globalization forces. Were the rules of the game to change now, the region would certainly suffer. Uncertainty, however, is an even greater challenge because positioning itself and planning ahead amid conflicting signs, becomes extremely difficult.

Globalization emerged as a result of political intention and technological feasibility. Now, it finds itself seriously challenged for the very same reasons. In both cases, political intention and technological feasibility are clearly identified with developed economies. 

What kind of route map can Latin America follow amid this confusing situation? To begin with, it is necessary to analyze the forces that push for and against globalization, trying to measure their respective strength, convergence capacity, and potential impact. This requires, at the same time, looking into the flaws, weaknesses and contradictions of such forces. With these elements in hand, it might be easier to envisage where the trends are leading to and, by extension, where Latin America might end up standing.

However, there seems to be no alternative to playing in both directions, with the aim of minimizing costs and maximizing opportunities. Within this highly fluid situation, pragmatism, resilience, creativeness, imagination, and the joining together of Latin American forces, will have to guide the region’s actions in the foreseeable future.

GLO: What are the challenges for globalization to become profitable for Latin America?

Alfredo Toro Hardy: The curious equation formed by protectionism, populism, political rage, algorithms, deep learning, robots, 3D printing, nanotechnology, indoor and vertical farming, an emerging post animal food industry, and renewable energy, among other elements, may end up suctioning the oxygen of globalization. It is not only that trade barriers emerge, but that it will make no sense to look for cheaper manufactures, products or services afar, when it would become possible to generate them locally at competitive prices.

A decoupling world economy, like the one that may emerge under such equation, presents no benefit for Latin America. Finding a path under such scenario would become extremely stressful and challenging. However, globalization has not been a rose garden for the region. Much to the contrary, it has imposed upon it the need to reconvert into labor-intensive manufacturing or to go back in time to commodities producing. Both of those options have being far from satisfactory.

A globalization that becomes profitable for Latin America would entail the possibility of overcoming such limitations, while opening a path towards a much more international service oriented economy and a more value added manufacturing. Unfortunately, at this point in time options are narrowing not widening.

The book

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GLO Fellow Alfredo Toro Hardy Explains ‘The Crossroads of Globalization’ from a Latin American Perspective.

In his new book just published in December 2018, Alfredo Toro Hardy, Venezuelan Scholar and Diplomat as well as a Fellow of the Global Labor Organization (GLO), explains his views about the perspectives of Latin America at the crossroads of globalization. Currently, globalization seems to be in decline all over the globe. However, if the future would see a revival, it seems plausible that Latin America should continue its current pace of following it. However, if globalization would continue to decline, the region would need to find other options. The book evaluates the risks and outlines the options. MORE DETAILS.

Ambassador Alfredo Toro Hardy
Venezuelan Scholar and GLO Fellow

The Preface to the book has been provided by Klaus F. Zimmermann, who is the President of the GLO. He writes in the book:

“As so often in the history of mankind, the fate of globalization is currently at stake. It looks that, again, the world is at a crossroad between development or contraction. The economic and political polarizations within or between countries, the rise of populism and in the number of instable democracies, the tensions resulting from migration, inequality, robotization and the demands of emerging economies like China, India and (perhaps) Brazil require attention. Protectionism, EU-skepticism, nationalism, racism, and rejections of economic multilateralism and multicultural approaches are more and more important again. Only few critical observers of the world are not concerned about the current strength and the unclear directions of the driving forces behind which are only slowly understood.

            Globalization is much more than the persistent global integration of the flow of goods, capital and labor. It also merges cultures and enforces permanent and immediate exchange of knowledge and sentiments. Latin America was once forced into globalization and moved in unprepared, stumbling. It survived by adapting. It is an export-based economy. Moving out is likely to be very costly in economic terms. Is this unavoidable or are there alternatives?

            Globalization, as is widely perceived, mainly benefits liberal democracies. But is this really true? The Chinese pro-globalization strategy certainly questions this position. And if globalization collapses in parts of the world, does it make sense to follow like lemmings. Or is it not better to go on as much as possible, making use of the potentials of globalization? In other words, if the United Kingdom wants Brexit, why should the remaining European Union give up its ambitions?

            Globalization will not end, since economic advantages and constraints will enforce its rise, as it materialized over the entire history of mankind. The rise of homo sapiens over thousands of years has taken place due to a superior brain, excellent language abilities and a tremendous talent to collaborate. But, of course, mistakes of humans as of political and social organizations can cause a break of further globalization for some time. In many ways, the current world is not much more open than it was before World War I. In any case: Those nations and continents ignoring historical lessons will eventually fall behind.

            Alfredo Toro Hardy offers us some advanced training. The author of this book deserves significant attention: After a long and successful career as top diplomat, ambassador and global scholar, he is exploiting his deep knowledge and experience acquired over a worklife to tackle some of the most pressing issues of our time.

            I have had the privilege to learn him and his lovely wife during a joint tenure as a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Resident Scholar in 2017. During this period, we have had many inspiring and fruitful exchanges about the future of our worlds and the challenges of life. I have always been impressed by his deep insights in complex issues and his balanced views on controversial or even explosive topics.

            In his unique way, Alfredo Toro Hardy, develops the perspectives of his continent in this world at the crossroads as the Voice of Latin America. Chapter by chapter, he sharpens our views for the challenges to come and the strengths, Latin America is able to mobilize. What is the right path for the continent? As the author states (p. 388): “Fast moving nations, indeed, appeared to be the better prepared to take advantage from a rapidly moving global market-place.” It is ‘flexibility, stupid’, making the difference. Investing in the technological advances in the fields of knowledge transfer, communications and transportations still make sense. And the continent needs to embrace, not to fight the upcoming digital economy.

            Hence, Alfredo Toro Hardy suggests that (p. 393) “pragmatism, resilience, creativeness, imagination, and the joining together of Latin American forces, will have to guide the region’s actions in the foreseeable future.” This implies to develop the integration of the Latin American markets even further through free trade agreements while keeping open to the global economy, in particular to the European Union. Certainly, institutions like the Inter-American Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Latin America can be instruments to foster the process.

Klaus F. Zimmermann , President of the Global Labor Organization, Professor Emeritus, Bonn University, UNU-MERIT & Maastricht University, Rockefeller Foundation Policy Fellow 2017″

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GLO intensifies collaborations with Baku: Collaboration contract (MoU) signed and GLO President joins the Advisory Board of IGEP

During his recent visit to Baku/Azerbaijan on 10-13 November 2018, the President of the Global Labor Organization (GLO), Klaus F. Zimmermann, has met Chairman Natig Shirinzade of the Institute of Global Economic Problems (IGEP) and collaborated intensively with him. MORE DETAILS. Shirinzade, who is also a GLO Fellow and the GLO Country Lead Azerbaijan, had organized the meetings of Zimmermann with key representatives from government, academia and business to discuss the global challenges and approaches of the country. MORE DETAILS.

In the light of the great success of the visit and the large potentials, Chairman Shirinzade and President Zimmermann agreed to intensify the relationships between both organizations even further. For this purpose, both signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU expresses that the planned collaborations should advance academic knowledge in both organizations through the encouragement of academic research, the communication among scholars through meetings, the promotion of publication opportunities and by providing networking opportunities for scholars through conferences and other joint activities.

For this purpose, Zimmermann has also accepted to join the IGEP Advisory Board headed by the Honorary Academician Ziyad Samedzade, the Chairman of the Economic Policy, Industry and Entrepreneurship Committee of the National Assembly (Milli Mejlis). In a festive ceremony, Natig Shirinzade presented Zimmermann the certificate for this appointment, which is signed by him and Ziyad Samedzade.

Over dinner on the previous night, Samedzade, Shirinzade and Zimmermann had discussed further details of the global challenges and found that they largely agree how one needs to approach them.

Shirinzade and Zimmermann after the presentation of the Certificate of the membership in the IGEP Advisory Board.

Relaxation after the hour.

The Honorary Academician Ziyad Samedzade, the Chairman of the Economic Policy, Industry and Entrepreneurship Committee of the National Assembly (Milli Mejlis) and Chairman of the IGEP Advisory Board with Zimmermann.

Klaus F. Zimmermann: “The exchange with Ziyad Samedzade was a big honor and great pleasure, we have debated and agreed on important issues of the globalized world, the perspectives of our countries, and what we have to do. A truly great man; I am deeply impressed. He found time on the eve of an important budget debate in the parliament to receive me in his office in the National Assembly and to join us for dinner. About his significant intervention in the parliamentary debate in the following morning I read in the media:”

“The activities of the country’s banks once again caused a barrage of criticism. This time, criticism was voiced by the parliamentarians during the discussion of the draft state budget for 2019 at the plenary session of the Milli Majlis (National Assembly). The statement of Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Policy, Industry and Entrepreneurship Ziyad Samadzadeh was especially noteworthy. He stated bluntly: ‘We cannot be satisfied with the activities of banks in Azerbaijan, because their assistance to the real sector is insignificant.’” (MPs attacked banks. Elnur Mammadov in the AZERI DAILY)

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GLO President visits government officials, business and the research community in Azerbaijan

On the invitation of Natig Shirinzade, Chairman of the Institute of Global Economic Problems, the President of the Global Labor Organization (GLO), Klaus F. Zimmermann, has visited Baku, Azerbaijan, on 10-13 November 2018 to discuss research and policy issues and to intensify contacts. Chairman Natig Shirinzade is also a GLO Fellow and the GLO Country Lead Azerbaijan representing GLO. MORE DETAILS.

Organized by Natig Shirinzade (right side of the picture), Zimmermann met with researchers and scientists, representatives from business and government including members from the office of the First Vice President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Executive Director of the State Oil Fund and his staff, the Minister of Labor and the Minister of Education with their staff, the Chairman of the Economic Policy, Industry and Entrepreneurship Committee of the National Assembly, and the Deputy Foreign Minister and Founding Rector of the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy (ADA University) with various administrators and professors from ADA University and the Azerbaijan State University of Economics.

The full program on November 12-13, 2018 included the following major program points in this sequence:

The joint initiative of Natig Shirinzade and Klaus F. Zimmermann was broadly covered by the Azerbaijani media:

Left picture: In the middle, Sahil Babayev, Minister of Labor and Social Protection. Right: Natig Shirinzade and Klaus F. Zimmermann

 

Excellent and deep discussions with key staff members of the office of the First Vice President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva: Emin Huseynov (left) and Khalid Ahadov (right). Broad and common understanding about the global human challenges and the large potentials for deeper collaborations between Azerbaijan and Europe.

 

With Shahmar Movsumov as the Executive Director of the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Fund prepares for the future of the country investing resources around the world and supporting the change of the country including activities strengthening infrastructure and human resources. Both Natig Shirinzade and Klaus F. Zimmermann were visiting Shahmar Movsumov and his staff in his headquarter to introduce the respective institutions and to discuss the research needs to deal with the major challenges of the country. Bellow: In the headquarter of the Fund.

 

 

In both ministries, labor and education, the exchange was about the political strategies to deal with the demand for effective government using the instruments of the digital age, establishing the physical and administrative infrastructure needed for the post oil age, the need to strengthen entrepreneurship and the development of skills and education. A particular need was identified in vocational training, where large efforts of both ministries are under way. Zimmermann agreed with ministers Sahil Babayev (labor) and Ceyhun Bayamon (education) that vocational training could be key for the development if combined with proper entrepreneurship and small business. He advertised for the German dual system, knowing the difficulties with an adaption of the model that requires long traditions and the strong support of the business community.

Shirinzade and Zimmermann further met with Ambassador Hafiz Pashayev, Deputy Foreign Minister and Founding Rector of the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy (ADA University). At the ADA University, they met with him and Fariz Ismailzade (Vice Rector for External, Government and Student Affairs), Elkin Nurmammadov (Dean of the School of Business), Rahman Shahhuseynli (Director of the Office of International Affairs), Kavus Abushov (Assistant Professor, Political Sciences), all ADA University, and Anar Rzayev, Vice-Rector International Relations and Programs of UNEC, the Azerbaijan State University of Economics. Topics discussed included the mission of GLO, the natural role of the country as a geographic, economic and political meeting point between Europe and Asia, and potentials for academic exchange of the universities with Europe. The visit at ADA University ended with a lecture of Zimmermann for ADA students.

Zimmermann speaking at the ADA University Global Perspectives Lecture Series in front of a large audience of interested students.

 

REFERENCES:
Klaus F. Zimmermann et al. (2013). Youth Unemployment and Vocational Training. Foundations and Trends in Microeconomics, Vol. 9, 1-157. now publishers.

Luca Barbone, Martin Kahanec, Klaus F. Zimmermann and Lucia Kureková (2013), Migration from the Eastern Partnership Countries to the European Union — Options for a Better Future, IZA Research Report, No. 55, Bonn. (50 pages)

Martin Kahanec, Klaus F. Zimmermann, Lucia Kureková and Costanza Biavaschi (2013), Labour Migration from EaP Countries to the EU – Assessment of Costs and Benefits and Proposals for Better Labour Market Matching, IZA Research Report, No. 56, Bonn. (164 pages)

On the more touristic side, Zimmermann explored on November 11 and 12 the city of Baku and the environment directed by a strongly motivated team of tourist guide, interpreter and driver. These experiences provided him with deep insides into history, modern developments, challenges and potentials of the country. On November 10, he was visiting modern Baku and enjoyed some of the local culture. On November 10 in the afternoon, he has been in the old city of Baku, and on November 11, among others, in the Gobustan National Park, saw the Petroglyphs and investigated the Zoroastrian temple of Ateshgah (Part III). At the end, he inspected Yanardag, the burning mountain. (The links lead to the four individual reports on Zimmermann’s private website for those interested.)

Ends;

Climate Change and Human Responses: More impressions from the KAS-FOM-GLO conference in Hong Kong

The joint FOM-GLO-KAS Conference about “Climate Change and Human Responses” co-organized by the Global Labor Organization (GLO), FOM University of Applied Sciences and Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) took place on October 31 – November 2 in Hong Kong. (See for detailed reports: DAY ONE, DAY TWO, DAY THREE ) Here are some further impressions (courtesy of KAS):

Conference participants at Day 2 after lunch.


Conference organizers (from the left): GLO President Klaus F. Zimmermann, Peter Hefele, Director of the Hong Kong branch of the German Konrad-Adenauer Foundation and Andreas Oberheitmann (FOM, RWI and GLO).

RECENT GLO Discussion Papers on the issue of the conference (freely downloadable):

DP 266 Smog, Cognition and Real-World Decision MakingDownload PDF
by Chen, Xi
DP 221 Gender and climate change: Do female parliamentarians make a difference?Download PDF
by Mavisakalyan, Astghik & Tarverdi, Yashar
DP 86 Do Environmental Regulations Effect FDI decisions? The Pollution Haven Hypothesis Revisited – Download PDF
by Yoon, Haeyeon & Heshmati, Almas
DP 78 Managing the Impact of Climate Change on Migration: Evidence from Mexico – Download PDF
by Chort, Isabelle & de la Rupelle, Maëlys
DP 56 Happiness in the Air: How Does a Dirty Sky Affect Mental Health and Subjective Well-being? – Download PDF
by Zhang, Xin & Zhang, Xiaobo & Chen, Xi
DP 32 Smog in Our Brains: Gender Differences in the Impact of Exposure to Air Pollution on Cognitive Performance  – Download PDF
by Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo & Zhang, Xin

Ends;

Hong Kong based German business meets GLO experts to debate the role of the city and business at the time of climate change

After two days of scientific discussions (see details linked: DAY ONE, DAY TWO), the joint FOM-GLO-KAS Conference about “Climate Change and Human Responses” co-organized by the Global Labor Organization (GLO), FOM University of Applied Sciences and Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) met on 2 November 2018 German business at and with the German Chamber of Commerce, Hong Kong for a Breakfast Discussion. Peter Hefele, Director of the Hong Kong branch of the German Konrad-Adenauer Foundation was organizing this event for the team of organizers.

Business agreed with academics that climate change can no longer be stopped, and one needs a strong focus on adaptation, in particular in large cities such as Hong Kong.

The event was chaired by Andreas Oberheitmann (FOM, RWI and GLO) and welcomed by Wolfgang Ehmann, Head of the German Chamber of Commerce, Hong Kong, and GLO President Klaus F. Zimmermann for all participating organizations. Oberheitmann speaking:

The keynote speeches were provided by Manfred Fischedick, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Energy and Environment, and Eric Chung, President and CEO of Siemens Ltd. Hong Kong and Member of the Board of Directors of the Business Environment Council (BEC), Hong Kong.

From the left: Wolfgang Ehmann (Welcome), Keynote Speaker Manfred Fischedick, Andreas Oberheitmann, Klaus F. Zimmermann (Welcome), and Keynote Speaker Eric Chung.

GLO Fellows Almas Heshmati, Venkatachalam Anbumozhi, Xi Chen under the observation of Peter Hefele, Director of the Hong Kong branch of the German Konrad-Adenauer Foundation.

GLO experts debating in Hong Kong with representatives of German business about the consequences of climate change for business and humanity. From the left:
Xi Cheng, Professor at Yale University and GLO Cluster Lead “Environment and Human Resources”.
Klaus F. Zimmermann, Professor at Bonn University (em.),  Honorary Professor at the Renmin University of China, UNU-MERIT, and President of GLO.
Andreas Oberheitmann, Professor at FOM, RWI and GLO.
Almas Heshmati, Jönköping International Business School, Sogang University
and GLO, Sweden/South Korea, and GLO Cluster Lead “Green Employment Creation”.
Venkatachalam Anbumozhi, Senior Economist, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and GLO.

PROGRAM; FRIDAY, 2ND NOVEMBER 2018
8:30 Breakfast Discussion (in cooperation with the German Chamber of Commerce)
Climate Change and Human Responses: How to prepare for Change?
Venue: German Chamber of Commerce, 3601, Tower One, Lippo Centre,
89 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong
Chair: Andreas OBERHEITMANN, FOM, RWI and GLO
Welcoming Remarks
– Wolfgang EHMANN, German Chamber of Commerce
Klaus F. ZIMMERMANN, UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University and GLO
Keynote Speeches (10 min each)
– Manfred FISCHEDICK, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Energy and Environment
– Eric CHONG, President and CEO of Siemens Ltd. Hong Kong; Member of the
Board of Directors of Business Environment Council (BEC), Hong Kong
Q&A
10:00 End of Event

RECENT GLO Discussion Papers on the issue (freely downloadable):

DP 266 Smog, Cognition and Real-World Decision MakingDownload PDF
by Chen, Xi
DP 221 Gender and climate change: Do female parliamentarians make a difference?Download PDF
by Mavisakalyan, Astghik & Tarverdi, Yashar
DP 86 Do Environmental Regulations Effect FDI decisions? The Pollution Haven Hypothesis Revisited – Download PDF
by Yoon, Haeyeon & Heshmati, Almas
DP 78 Managing the Impact of Climate Change on Migration: Evidence from Mexico – Download PDF
by Chort, Isabelle & de la Rupelle, Maëlys
DP 56 Happiness in the Air: How Does a Dirty Sky Affect Mental Health and Subjective Well-being? – Download PDF
by Zhang, Xin & Zhang, Xiaobo & Chen, Xi
DP 32 Smog in Our Brains: Gender Differences in the Impact of Exposure to Air Pollution on Cognitive Performance  – Download PDF
by Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo & Zhang, Xin

Ends;

Climate Change and Human Responses: Impressions from a scientific debate in Hong Kong

The joint FOM-GLO-KAS Conference about “Climate Change and Human Responses” co-organized by the Global Labor Organization (GLO), FOM University of Applied Sciences and Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) at the Hotel Harbour Grand Kowloon, Hung Hom, Hong Kong (see FIRST DAY, for the full program of all three days, literature references and some pictures of the first day; details of THIRD DAY) continued on 1 November 2018 with a dense scientific program.

Here are some photos of the academic event of the SECOND DAY (November 1, 2018):

9:00 Session 1: Impact of Climate Change on Regions and Industry Sectors
Chair: ZHANG Yifan, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and GLO

 

Session chair ZHANG Yifan (The Chinese University of Hong Kong and GLO) next to Klaus F. Zimmermann (UNU-MERIT and President GLO)

 

 

 

Manfred FISCHEDICK, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Energy and Environment
Climate Change and (Basic) Industry: Options and Related Chances and Challenges for a Green Transformation


Andreas OBERHEITMANN, FOM, RWI and GLO
Challenges of Climate Change for Coastal Regions and Cities: the Case of China

 

11:00 Session 2: Impacts of Climate Change on Global Labor Force and Labor Markets. Chair: GUO Chaoran, Chinese University of Hong Kong and GLO

 

Session Chair Chaoran Guo (Chinese University of Hong Kong and GLO) with Jean-Marc Champagne  (World Wide Fund for Nature) and Walton Li (Greenpeace)

 

 

 

FENG Shuaizhang, Jinan University and GLO, video
presentation
(with CUI Xiaomeng, Jinan University,
per skype in the discussion below)

Climate Variability, Agricultural Productivity and Migration


CHEN Xi, Yale University and GLO
Climate and Environmental Challenges to Health Capital

DEBATE: Astghik Mavisakalyan (Curtin University and GLO), discussing; with from the left Chris Parsons (University of Western Australia and GLO), Peter Hefele (Director, Konrad Adenauer- Foundation, Hong Kong SAR, PR China), Eric Chun Sum Lee (Konrad Adenauer- Foundation), Nicolas de Loisy (SCMO, Hong Kong), and session chair GUO Chaoran (Chinese University of Hong Kong and GLO)

Christopher PARSONS, The University of Western Australia and GLO
Climate Change and Migration, Exit, Voice and Loyalty: A Solution to the Immobility Paradox

 

14.00 Session 3: Climate Change: Historical Lessons
Chair: Manfred FISCHEDICK, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Energy and Environment

Almas HESHMATI, Jönköping International Business School, Sogang University
and GLO, Sweden/South Korea
What Can We Learn from Environmental Disasters for the Climate Change Challenges?

PEI Qing, Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Mandate of Heaven – Climate change, migration and geopolitical cycles in imperial China

 

15:45 Session 4: Climate Change: How to React?
Chair: Anbumozhi VENKATACHALAM, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)

 

Session Chair Anbumozhi VENKATACHALAM (Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia, ERIA) with Almas HESHMATI (Jönköping International Business School, Sogang University, Sweden/South Korea and GLO), and speaker Astghik MAVISAKALYAN (Curtin University and GLO)

 

Astghik MAVISAKALYAN, Curtin University and GLO
Gender and Climate Change: Do Female Parliamentarians Make a Difference?

Background Paper GLO DP 221 Gender and climate change: Do female parliamentarians make a difference?Download PDF
by Mavisakalyan, Astghik & Tarverdi, Yashar

Eileen GALLAGHER, BSR, Business for Social Responsibility, Hong Kong
How Business Can Manage Climate Risk in Southeast Asia

THE WORKDAY ENDED WITH STUDENT PRESENTATIONS ON THE TOPIC
17:20 KAS–CUHK Students Forum
(in cooperation with the Faculty of Law/Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)
“Climate Change and Human Responses”
Chair: Peter HEFELE, KAS RECAP, Hong Kong
Welcoming Remarks:
– Anatole BOUTE, Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)
– LL.M-Master Course Student, CUHK
Discussion
18:00 Wrap-up and Concluding Remarks
– Andreas OBERHEITMANN

RECENT GLO Discussion Papers on the issue (freely downloadable):

DP 266 Smog, Cognition and Real-World Decision MakingDownload PDF
by Chen, Xi
DP 221 Gender and climate change: Do female parliamentarians make a difference?Download PDF
by Mavisakalyan, Astghik & Tarverdi, Yashar
DP 86 Do Environmental Regulations Effect FDI decisions? The Pollution Haven Hypothesis Revisited – Download PDF
by Yoon, Haeyeon & Heshmati, Almas
DP 78 Managing the Impact of Climate Change on Migration: Evidence from Mexico – Download PDF
by Chort, Isabelle & de la Rupelle, Maëlys
DP 56 Happiness in the Air: How Does a Dirty Sky Affect Mental Health and Subjective Well-being? – Download PDF
by Zhang, Xin & Zhang, Xiaobo & Chen, Xi
DP 32 Smog in Our Brains: Gender Differences in the Impact of Exposure to Air Pollution on Cognitive Performance  – Download PDF
by Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo & Zhang, Xin

Ends;

 

“Climate Change and Human Responses”: GLO conference in Hong Kong with FOM & KAS has started on Wednesday, 31 October 2018

The joint FOM-GLO-KAS Conference about “Climate Change and Human Responses”  scheduled  for 31 October – 2 November 2018 in Hong Kong has begun on Wednesday, 31 October 2018. The event is co-organized by the Global Labor Organization (GLO), FOM University of Applied Sciences and Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS).

See details on the following days, linked: DAY TWO, DAY THREE

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st Century. It does not only have severe consequences for eco-systems, but also directly and indirectly affects societies and economies. The consequences for global production chains, output, labor markets and well-being will be massive. Rising sea levels, floods and droughts, changing agricultural patterns – tremendous economic losses and migration of labor force will lead to unforeseeable consequences on human well-being, public health, labor performance and productivity. The innovative conference deals with the under-researched human consequences of climate change and brings together researchers, business, the policy community and civil society in a city which will be heavily affected by climate change, Hong Kong.

GLO has recently provided a number of Discussion Papers on the topic, see below.

Organizers are Peter Hefele (KAS RECAP, Hongkong), Andreas Oberheitmann (FOM, RWI and GLO) and Klaus F. Zimmermann (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University and GLO). Participants are renowned researchers, politicians and entrepreneurs from Hong Kong, Asia, Europe and the US.

THE PROGRAM: “Climate Change and Human Responses” 

WEDNESDAY, 31ST OCTOBER 2018
Venue: Meeting Room Whampoa 1&2, 1/F, Hotel Harbour Grand Kowloon, Hung Hom,
Hong Kong

16:00 Registration
16:15 Welcoming Remarks
Peter HEFELE, KAS RECAP, Hong Kong
Andreas OBERHEITMANN, FOM Hochschule, RWI and GLO
16:45 Keynote Speech
Klaus F. ZIMMERMANN, UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University and GLO
Climate Change: The Global Labor Challenge
17:15 Q&A
18:00 End of Discussion
19:00 Dinner
Keynote Speech: Ir Albert LAI, CEO of Carbon Care Asia, Hong Kong
Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities for Hong Kong´s Innovation System
Venue: Grand Salon, Hotel Harbour Grand Kowloon

THURSDAY, 1ST NOVEMBER 2018

9:00 Session 1: Impact of Climate Change on Regions and Industry Sectors
Chair: ZHANG Yifan, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and GLO
– Manfred FISCHEDICK, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Energy and Environment
Climate Change and (Basic) Industry: Options and Related Chances and Challenges
for a Green Transformation
– Andreas OBERHEITMANN, FOM, RWI and GLO
Challenges of Climate Change for Coastal Regions and Cities: the Case of China
10:30 Coffee break
11:00 Session 2: Impacts of Climate Change on Global Labor Force and Labour
Markets
Chair: GUO Chaoran, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and GLO
FENG Shuaizhang, Jinan University and GLO (with CUI Xiaomeng, Jinan University)
Climate Variability, Agricultural Productivity and Migration
(video presentation)
– CHEN Xi, Yale University and GLO
Climate and Environmental Challenges to Health Capital
– Christopher PARSONS, The University of Western Australia and GLO
Climate Change and Migration, Exit, Voice and Loyalty: A Solution to the Immobility Paradox
13:00 Lunch
Venue: Restaurant Waterfront Bar & Terrace, G/F, Harbour Grand Kowloon

14.00 Session 3: Climate Change: Historical Lessons
Chair: Manfred FISCHEDICK, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Energy and Environment
– Almas HESHMATI, Jönköping International Business School, Sogang University
and GLO, Sweden/South Korea
What Can We Learn from Environmental Disasters for the Climate Change Challenges?
– PEI Qing, Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Mandate of Heaven – Climate change, migration and geopolitical cycles in imperial
China
15:30 Coffee Break
15:45 Session 4: Climate Change: How to React?
Chair: Anbumozhi VENKATACHALAM, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East
Asia (ERIA)
– Astghik MAVISAKALYAN, Curtin University and GLO
Gender and Climate Change: Do Female Parliamentarians Make a Difference?
Eileen GALLAGHER, BSR (Business for Social Responsibility), Hong Kong
How Business Can Manage Climate Risk in Southeast Asia
17:00 Coffee Break

17:20 KAS–CUHK Students Forum
(in cooperation with the Faculty of Law/Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)
“Climate Change and Human Responses”
Chair: Peter HEFELE, KAS RECAP, Hong Kong / Anjle GUPTA, CUHK, Hong Kong
Welcoming Remarks:
– Anatole BOUTE, Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)
Statements (each 5–10 mins)
– LL.M-Master Course Student, CUHK
Discussion
18:00 Wrap-up and Concluding Remarks
– Andreas OBERHEITMANN
– Peter HEFELE
18:30 Meet at Lobby and Transfer to Restaurant
19:00 Dinner

FRIDAY, 2ND NOVEMBER 2018
8:30 Breakfast Discussion (in cooperation with the German Chamber of Commerce)
Climate Change and Human Responses: How to prepare for Change?
Venue: German Chamber of Commerce, 3601, Tower One, Lippo Centre,
89 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong
Chair: Andreas OBERHEITMANN, FOM, RWI and GLO
Welcoming Remarks
– Wolfgang EHMANN, German Chamber of Commerce
Klaus F. ZIMMERMANN, UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University and GLO
Keynote Speeches (10 min each)
– Manfred FISCHEDICK, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Energy and Environment
– Eric CHONG, President and CEO of Siemens Ltd. Hong Kong; Member of the
Board of Directors of Business Environment Council (BEC), Hong Kong
Q&A
10:00 End of Event

 
From the left: GLO Fellows Andreas OBERHEITMANN, Christopher PARSONS &  Astghik MAVISAKALYAN
Andreas OBERHEITMANN &
Klaus F. ZIMMERMANN
From the left: Almas HESHMATI, GLO Fellow and GLO Cluster Lead Africa, listening to Peter HEFELE who is introducing the Keynote Dinner Speaker: Ir Albert LAI Keynote Dinner Speaker
  Ir Albert LAI
CEO of Carbon Care Asia
Hong Kong

RECENT GLO Discussion Papers on the issue (freely downloadable):

DP 266 Smog, Cognition and Real-World Decision MakingDownload PDF
by Chen, Xi
DP 221 Gender and climate change: Do female parliamentarians make a difference?Download PDF
by Mavisakalyan, Astghik & Tarverdi, Yashar
DP 86 Do Environmental Regulations Effect FDI decisions? The Pollution Haven Hypothesis Revisited – Download PDF
by Yoon, Haeyeon & Heshmati, Almas
DP 78 Managing the Impact of Climate Change on Migration: Evidence from Mexico – Download PDF
by Chort, Isabelle & de la Rupelle, Maëlys
DP 56 Happiness in the Air: How Does a Dirty Sky Affect Mental Health and Subjective Well-being? – Download PDF
by Zhang, Xin & Zhang, Xiaobo & Chen, Xi
DP 32 Smog in Our Brains: Gender Differences in the Impact of Exposure to Air Pollution on Cognitive Performance  – Download PDF
by Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo & Zhang, Xin

Ends;

 

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.

Ends;

GLO Fellow Michele Bruni, Beijing, studies the long-term implications of demographic change for China

China is much younger than Europe, but ages much faster reaching and passing Europe in due course. Michele Bruni, EU Expert resident in Beijing and Fellow of the Global Labor Organization (GLO) analyzes the consequences of the significant demographic changes for the Chinese labor market and welfare.

GLO Fellow Michele Bruni, EU Expert, and  Resident in Beijing

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

Abstract

China still lags behind Europe along the path of the demographic transition and therefore is still much younger. However, due to the speed with which the fertility rate dropped and life expectancy increased, China ageing process will proceed at a very fast space and around the middle of the century the population of China is projected to be as old as that of France and the UK and older than that of the USA. The paper evaluates the labor market and welfare implications of this process, also by an economic indicator of dependency and socioeconomic burden.

Interested in other GLO Discussion Papers?  The GLO DP series for free.

Interested in other research on China? Recent Papers on the Chinese Labor Market

Ends;

Employment in China: CIER Forecasting Workshop debates future while celebrating CIER’s 10th anniversary

CIER at Renmin University celebrates its 10th anniversary and debates the challenging employment prospective in the face of global trade tensions. GLO President Klaus F. Zimmermann, while visiting Renmin University in October, congratulates to the success of CIER and contributes to the exchange on the future of labor.

The China Institute for Employment Research (CIER) at Renmin University of China, now a globally well known and respected research institution, organizes regular influential meetings by academics, government experts and practitioners from business to judge the state of the Chinese labor market. CIER is directed by Professor Xiangquan Zeng, a former long-term Dean of the School of Labor and Human Resources of Renmin University and Fellow of the Global Labor Organization (GLO).

Due to the large changes of China and in the world, traditional data sources have often become meaningless and new indicators and their permanent evaluation have to be organized. It was an innovative initiative, when CIER presented in 2011 for the first time what is now called the CIER-Index, an indicator that measures the tightness of the Chinese labor market by relating the size of jobseekers to the demands of the hiring authorities using survey data from business. The index has established its value and is well used inside and outside China.

On 18 October 2018, the regular seasonal forecasting meeting at Renmin University has dealt with the employment consequences of the global tensions in international economic relations. Concerns have been expressed about the predicted moderation of economic growth and an expected decline in employment, which were detailed and confirmed by CIER analysis and all the experts present.

All invited speakers including Renmin Vice-President Liu Yuanchun, former Labor Minister of China Xiaojian Zhang and GLO President Klaus F. Zimmermann expressed in their keynote speeches strongly the importance  and significance CIER and its leader, Professor Xiangquan Zeng, had over the entire decade. Zimmermann has called Director Zeng a “man of vision and practice” during challenging times. All wished Zeng and CIER much success for the important work in the time to come.

Former Chinese Minister of Labor Xiaojian Zhang (middle) with GLO Fellow Xiangquan Zeng (left) & GLO President Klaus F. Zimmermann after a joint dinner.

During the celebration & analysis meeting:

GLO Fellows Xiangquan Zeng (right) and Shi Li of Beijing Normal University CIER Director Xiangquan Zeng of Rinmin University during his talk presenting his analysis of the Chinese labor market. In front: Liu Yuanchun, Vice President of Renmin University During the debate:  Liu Yuanchun, Xiangquan Zeng & Klaus F. Zimmermann

 


Ends;

Azita Berar Awad (previously ILO) joins GLO as Policy Director

Azita Berar Awad has been appointed GLO Policy Director of the Global Labor Organization (GLO). She had been previously the Director of the Employment Policy Department of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Azita Berar Awad has been the Director of the Employment Policy Department of the ILO in the period 2006 – 2017, working for the institution since 1983. In this position, she was responsible for the development of ILO’s approach to promoting full, productive, decent and freely chosen employment. Since employment is one of the four strategic pillars of  ILO‘s decent work agenda, her task was crucial. She was also facilitating broad-based social dialogue processes and extensive capacity-building for employment policy, engaging governments and social partners (employers and workers organizations) in all regions of the world.

See MORE on the Featured Alumna of The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.

As the GLO Policy Director, Azita Berar Awad will continue her mission to strengthen employment creation around the world by directing policy initiatives of the GLO network. Her rich experience and large network will help GLO to develop further and connect to the relevant international organizations.

Azita BERAR AWAD

GLO Policy Director Azita Berar Awad

Ends;

Asian Productivity Organization (APO) workshop on The Impact of Education Policies on National Productivity Growth Completed in Manila/Philippines

Global Labor Organization (GLO) Fellows led the recently completed Asian Productivity Organization (APO) Workshop on the impact of education policies on national productivity growth as experts on labor productivity.

The event took place at the Development Planning Academy (DAP) in Manila (Philippines) on 14 – 17 August 2018. The GLO Lead for South-East Asia, Professor Niaz Asadullah (Malaya University), was joined by three other fellows as resource persons. They were: Dr Chandra Shah (Monash University, Australia), Dr Franceso Pastore (Seconda Università di Napoli, Italy) and Dr Gyuhee Hwang (Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training, South Korea).

The GLO Fellows discussed issues such as dual-track technical and vocational training programs, school to work transition, on the job training programs, modelling future labor demand, the race between man and machine and so on.

Below: GLO Lead for South-East Asia Niaz Asadullah (Malaya University)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below: GLO Fellow Franceso Pastore (Seconda Università di Napoli, Italy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below: GLO Fellow Chandra Shah (Monash University, Australia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below: GLO speakers in debate from the left GLO Fellow Gyuhee Hwang (Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training, South Korea; #2), Pastore (#4), Asadullah (#5) and Shah (#6) .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below: All forum participants. GLO Fellows from the left sitting in the first row: Pastore (#1), Hwang (#2), Shah (#4) and Asadullah (#5).

 

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Climate Change and Human Responses: Joint FOM-GLO-KAS Conference in Hong Kong

A joint FOM-GLO-KAS Conference about “Climate Change and Human Responses” takes place on 31 October – 2 November 2018 in Hong Kong. The event is co-organized by the Global Labor Organization (GLO), FOM University of Applied Sciences and Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS).

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st Century. It does not only have severe consequences for eco-systems, but also directly and indirectly affects societies and economies. The consequences for global production chains, output, labor markets and well-being will be massive. Rising sea levels, floods and droughts, changing agricultural patterns – tremendous economic losses and migration of labor force will lead to unforeseeable consequences on human well-being, public health, labor performance and productivity.

Mitigation and adaptation measures might have positive impacts on local and regional economies and labor markets – but with huge sector differences. Shifting from carbon-based economies to renewable ones create new sources of value and increase demand for skilled labor globally.

Against this background, the Global Labor Organization (GLO) and FOM University of Applied Sciences organize an international conference in cooperation with Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) | Regional Project Energy Security and Climate Change Asia-Pacific to discuss these issues. The event will take place on October 31 – November 2 in Hongkong.

Organizers are Peter Hefele (KAS RECAP, Hongkong), Andreas Oberheitmann (FOM, RWI and GLO) and Klaus F. Zimmermann (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University and GLO)

Participants are renowned researchers, politicians and entrepreneurs from Hongkong, Asia, Europe and the US. Speakers include:

  • Klaus F. Zimmermann, UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University and GLO: Climate Change: The Global Labor Challenge
  • Manfred Fischedick, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Energy and Environment, Climate Change and (Basic) Industry: Options and related Chances and Challenges for a Green Transformation
  • Andreas Oberheitmann, FOM, RWI and GLO, Challenges of Climate Change for Coastal Regions and Cities: the Case of China
  • Almas Heshmati, Jönköping International Business School, Sogang University and GLO, What Can We Learn from Environmental Disasters for the Climate Change Challenges
  • Shuaizhang Feng, Jinan University and GLO, Climate Variability, Agricultural Productivity and Migration
  • Xi Chen, Yale University and GLO, Climate and Environmental Challenges to Health Capital
  • Christopher Parsons, The University of Western Australia and GLO, Climate Change and Migration, Exit, Voice and Loyalty: A Solution to the Immobility Paradox

Ends;

GLO – UM Joint Seminar at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on August 21, 2018

21 August 2018 at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.The Global Labor Organization (GLO) and the Faculty of Economics and Administration of the University of Malaya (UM) start an new joint seminar series:

The GLO-UM Joint Labor Economics Seminar

It is headed by GLO Fellow Professor Niaz Asadullah in his function as the GLO Lead for South-East Asia. He is also the GLO Country Lead Malaysia.

The first speaker will be GLO Fellow Dr Chandravadan Shah, who is an Adjunct Professor at the Centre for International Research on Education Systems (CIRES), Victoria University and Affiliate of Monash University in Australia. He will speak about “Forecasting Labor Demand: International Best Practices”.  For further details see below.

PDF of this agenda: GLO-UM Program

PDF of this flyer: GLO-UM Joint Seminar

GLO Fellow Professor Niaz Asadullah in his function as the GLO Lead for South-East Asia heading the new GLO-UM Joint Labor Economics Seminar in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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Challenges for European Integration: Monetary, Fiscal and Labor Issues Discussed at Conference in Linz/Austria

Jens Weidmann of the German Bundesbank provided a keynote lecture. Klaus F. Zimmermann of the Global Labor Organization (GLO) spoke in a panel on social cohesion and labor mobility.

The 45th Economics Conference of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB) with the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO) took place on July 5, 2018 – July 6, 2018 in Linz/Austria.

The event was entitled

“Economic and Monetary Union – Deepening and Convergence”.

The most prominent keynote speaker of the first afternoon was Jens Weidmann of the German Bundesbank followed by three panel sessions. Klaus F. Zimmermann (UNU-MERIT and Maastricht University), who is also the President of the Global Labor Organization (GLO), spoke about the role of labor mobility for social cohesion.

“Amid formidable challenges, Europe’s future depends not least on the capacity of its economies to converge toward their best performing peers. The conference at the start of the Austrian EU Presidency analyzed which dimensions matter most for the smooth functioning of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and for the convergence of Central, Eastern and Southeastern European (CESEE) countries. The conference shed light on economic, social and territorial cohesion as enshrined in the EU Treaty. Experts from academia, business and politics debated how to prevent economic dispersion, promote deeper integration and ensure sustainable East-West and South-North convergence. They discussed the viability of the institutional framework, deepening of EMU, assessed the Commission’s recent proposals, looked into EU structural and cohesion policies and explored both the potential and policy challenges for CESEE.”

Klaus F. Zimmermann, Angela Pfister & Thomas Liebig — the panelists on social cohesion and migration.

Angela Pfister works for the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB).

Thomas Liebig (OECD) is a also a Fellow of the Global Labor Organization (GLO).

As Klaus F. Zimmermann argued in his presentation, “Labor mobility is about cooperating in societies or between societies in order to survive and prosper. Hence, migration does not have to be in conflict with social cohesion. Furthermore, it:
►supports the optimal allocation of resources,
►leads to balanced adjustments to asymmetric shocks,
►fights temporary scarcity and deals with shared long-term needs,
►is an indicator of solidarity (see the current “refugee” debate in Europe and the mobility concerns), and
►is of central importance for all countries in the monetary union like the Eurozone.”

Thomas Liebig is co-author of a prominent recent research paper that documents how economies in Europe and the United States have adjusted to asymmetric shocks in the recent Great Recession. It has been the GLO Discussion Paper of the Month in February 2018 and is forthcoming in the Journal of Population Economics.

Jauer, Julia & Liebig, Thomas & Martin, John P. & Puhani, Patrick A., Migration as an adjustment mechanism in the crisis? A comparison of Europe and the United States 2006-2016,  GLO Discussion Paper 178, February 2018. Free download.

Abstract: We estimate whether migration can be an equilibrating force in the labor market by comparing pre-and post-crisis migration movements at the regional level in both Europe and the United States, and their association with symmetric labor market shocks. Based on fixed-effects regressions using regional panel data, we find that Europe’s migratory response to unemployment shocks was almost identical to that recorded in the United States after the crisis. Our estimates suggest that, if all measured population changes in Europe were due to migration for employment purposes – i.e. an upper-bound estimate – up to about a quarter of the asymmetric labor market shock would be absorbed by migration within a year. However, in Europe and especially in the Eurozone, the reaction to a very large extent stems from migration of recent EU accession country citizens as well as of third – country nationals.

See also a recent debate about internal labor mobility in Europe and Austria.

***********************************************************************
From the program of July 5, 2018:

Keynote lecture:
Deepening EMU – Political Integration and Economic Convergence

Jens Weidmann
President, Deutsche Bundesbank

……….
Panel: Social Cohesion – The Role of Labour Mobility
Chair:
Kurt Pribil
Executive Director, Oesterreichische Nationalbank
Panelists:
Thomas Liebig, Senior Migration Specialist, OECD
Angela Pfister, Economic Expert, Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB)
Klaus F. Zimmermann, President | Professor
Global Labor Organization (GLO) | Maastricht University | UNU-MERIT

………

For a link to the Full Program click Program on this page.
******************************************************************************************

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Understanding the Challenges of the NEW Austrian Government Program. Video Analysis Available

The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is commited to evidence-based policy making and global exchange. GLO Fellow Peter Brandner and his independent group DIE WEIS[S]E WIRTSCHAFT has now provided the videos of a series of expert panel events summarizing the core policy areas (i) health, (ii) economics, (iii) education and (iv) migration and integration policy. A number of GLO Fellows including GLO President Klaus F. Zimmermann have participated in the analysis. The links to the information and the videos (all in German) are provided below. The videos are just freshly published.

Peter Brandner, Austrian Policy Advisor, University of Vienna and GLO

Die österreichische unabhängige Gruppe DIE WEIS[S]E WIRTSCHAFT macht komplexe Fragen im Sinne evidenzbasierter Politik transparent. Dem diente auch eine Veranstaltungsreihe zum Regierungsprogramm der neuen Österreichischen Regierung mit den Themenbereichen Gesundheit, Wirtschaft, Bildung und Migrations- und Integrationspolitik. Die Videos der Veranstaltungen liegen jetzt vor. Klaus F. Zimmermann, Präsident der Global Labor Organization (GLO), war an der Veranstaltung zur Migrations- und Integrationspolitik im Panel als Akteur beteiligt.

Im Regierungsprogramm 2017-2022 der neuen Österreichischen Regierung ist vieles bloß angedeutet, soll geprüft oder evaluiert werden. Aber auch konkrete Maßnahmen sind erkennbar. In der Veranstaltungsreihe

„Experten bewerten – das Regierungsprogramm auf dem Prüfstand“

organisiert unter der Leitung von GLO Fellow Peter Brandner (Wien) durch

Weis[s]e Wirtschaft

werden wesentliche Politikbereiche aus unterschiedlichen Perspektiven kritisch im Lichte evidenzbasierter Politik beleuchtet und diskutiert.

Jetzt wurde das Programm weitgehend durch Videos dokumentiert vorgelegt und auf der Website DIE WEIS[S]E WIRTSCHAFT verfügbar gemacht.

17. Jänner 2018
>> Gesundheitspolitik

29. Jänner 2018
>> Wirtschaftspolitik

14. Februar 2018
>> Bildungspolitik (folgt demnächst)

27. Februar 2018
>> Migrations- und Integrationspolitik
Die Veranstaltung am 27. Februar erfolgte unter Beteiligung von GLO Präsident Klaus F. Zimmermann.

Migrations- und Integrationspolitik im Regierungsprogramm 2017-2022

Der Migrations- und Integrationspanel (von links): GLO Fellow Robert Holzmann, University of New South Wales (Sydney), Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Wien); Ursula Struppe, Dienststellenleiterin Integration und Diversität, Magistratsabteilung 17, Stadt Wien; Andreas Kresbach, Die Weis[s]e Wirtschaft; Klaus F. Zimmermann, Präsident Global Labor Organization (GLO) und Co-Direktor UNU-MERIT, Universität Maastricht; Roland Goiser, Stv. Direktor Österreichischer Integrationsfonds (ÖIF).

Literatur:
Zimmermann, Klaus F., Migrationspolitik im Mediensturm, Wirtschaftspolitische Blätter, 63 (2016), 497-508.
Zimmermann, Klaus F., Evidenzbasierte wissenschaftliche Politikberatung, Journal of Applied Social Science Studies, 134 (2014), 259-270.
Zimmermann, Klaus F., Lobbyisten der Wahrheit, Deutsche Universitätszeitung (DUZ), 3 (2015), 14-15.
Zimmermann, Klaus F., The Core of Global Scientific Policy Advice: op-ed 

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