Work is constantly being reshaped by economic progress. Society evolves as technology advances, new ways of production are adopted, markets integrate. While this process is continuous, certain technological changes have the potential for greater impact, and provoke more attention than others. The changes reshaping work today are fundamental and long-term, driven by technological progress, globalization, shifting demographics, urbanization and climate change.
The 2019 World Development Report (WDR) will study the changes impacting work across different country contexts. The study will reflect on jobs that are likely to disappear due to these forces of change, as well as new jobs that may emerge. It will consider the implications for human capital in different contexts by analyzing data on human capital accumulation in school and work. The Report will also provide suggestions on how individuals, firms, society and governments can capture the opportunities this new world of work can offer.
The Report will draw upon the understanding that “work is school”: work builds human capital. Changes to the nature of work affect the human capital individuals need to accumulate through formal education before entering the labor market. These changes also shape the type and quantity of human capital that individuals will be able to accumulate in the work place. In taking this approach, the 2019 WDR affirms the importance of work as a complement to healthcare and education in the production of human capital.
Individuals, firms, governments, and society more broadly, can adjust to the changing nature of work. Individuals need to train or retool existing skills if they are to stay competitive. Firms must confront the challenge of fast-paced technological change and highly concentrated markets. Governments and societies seek appropriate policies that guard against rising inequality. As technology facilitates more non-traditional forms of employment, social protection becomes even more important. While facing different challenges, countries are considering how to ensure a basic level of protection for their workers and populations. The WDR will add stylized facts and analysis to this debate.
Read the WDR 2019 Working Draft. Updated materials will be uploaded every Friday at 5pm (EST).