Work is constantly reshaped by technological progress. New ways of production are adopted, markets expand, and societies evolve. But some changes provoke more attention than others, in part due to the vast uncertainty involved in making predictions about the future.
The 2019 World Development Report studies how the nature of work is changing as a result of advances in technology today.
While technology improves overall living standards, the process can be disruptive. A new social contract is needed to smooth the transition and guard against rising inequality. As a first priority, significant investments in human capital throughout a person’s lifecycle are vital to this effort. If workers are to stay competitive against machines they need to be able to retool existing skills or be better trained from the start.
More information and better measurement of human capital is needed. How much human capital can a child born today expect to attain by the end of secondary school, given the risks of poor health and poor education that prevail in the country where she was born? The World Bank’s recently-launched Human Capital Project (HCP), seeks to answer this question through a new global benchmark—the Human Capital Index (HCI). The HCP is also comprised of a program of measurement and research to inform policy action, and a program of support for country strategies to accelerate investment in human capital.
In addition to investments in human capital, the changing nature of work demands updates to social protection systems. Traditional provisions of social protection based on steady wage employment, clear definitions of employers and employees, as well as a fixed point of retirement become increasingly obsolete. Improved private sector policies to encourage startup activity and competition can also help countries to compete in the digital age.
Governments will need additional revenues to fund the investments demanded by the changing nature of work. Governments can create fiscal space through a mix of additional revenues from existing taxes (increases in rates or widening of the tax base), the introduction of new taxes, and improvements in tax administration.
The 2019 World Development Report presents an analysis of these issues based upon the available evidence. And, for the first time, the World Bank is preparing that analysis in a transparent manner. The Report’s authors share the draft on a weekly basis so that you can follow along as they write and rewrite, responding to new information and ideas as they reach the team.
Updated materials are uploaded every Friday at 5pm (EST).
The World Bank Group is engaging extensively with civil society, foundations, youth and women’s groups, business groups and other multilateral organizations in the preparation of the 2019 WDR. This page will be updated periodically with further details
March 9: Vienna—Chamber of Labor and the Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs
April 27: Brussels—European Commission (DG Empl and EPSC)
May 7–8: Berlin—International Policy Workshop "Addressing the Changing Nature of Work" organized by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
May 24: Geneva—International Labour Organization
May 25: Geneva—United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, International Telecommunication Union, and World Trade Organization
May 27: London—International Trade Union Confederation
May 31: Geneva—Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs
May 31: Paris—OECD - Seminar and Meetings
June 4: New Delhi—Seminar and Meetings with Government, CSOs, Academia and other interested stakeholders
June 5–7: Beijing and Hangzhou—Workshop and Meetings with Government, Academia and Private Sector Stakeholders
June 7–8: Washington, DC—International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
June 8: Tokyo—Roundtable with Academia, CSOs and Policy Makers and Meetings with Ministry of Finance and Japan International Cooperation Agency
June 11: Sofia—Roundtable with Academia, CSOs and Policy Makers
June 21: London—Department for International Development
June 22: London—European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
June 26: Washington, DC—Meeting with USAID
July 2: New York—Meeting with representatives from UNICEF, UNFPA, UNDP, UN Women and ILO
July 5: Amsterdam, academia
July 6: The Hague, government and business association
Vilnius, government and academia
July 11: Tiblisi, Georgia
July 13: Nairobi, stakeholders roundtable
Human capital consists of the knowledge, skills and health that people accumulate over their lives, enabling them to realize their potential as productive members of society. Human capital has large payoffs for economic growth - between ten and 30 percent of per capita income differences is attributable to cross-country differences in human capital.
Credible measurement of education and health outcomes raises the importance of human capital for policy makers everywhere. Measurement spurs the demand for policy interventions to build human capital in countries where governments are not doing enough. Good measurement is essential to developing research and analysis to inform the design of policies that improve human capital. With this goal in mind, the World Bank has launched the Human Capital Project—a program of advocacy, measurement, and analytical work to raise awareness and increase demand for interventions to build human capital. The Human Capital Project has three components: (i) a cross-country metric—the Human Capital Index, (ii) a program of measurement and research to inform policy action, and (iii) a program of support for country strategies to accelerate investment in human capital. See the summary of the Human Capital Project and explore the methodology of the Human Capital Index.
The Human Capital Gap: Getting Governments to Invest in People
by Jim Yong Kim (July/August 2018)
What will be the future of work?
by Jim Yong Kim (July 9, 2018)
Technology works for getting poor people’s problems fixed – we just have to get it right
by Kristalina Georgieva (June 27, 2018)