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A Market for Work Permits

November 21, 2019

Washington DC


VIDEO Nov 21, 2019

  • A new World Bank policy research working paper, The Missing Market for Work Permits, points out that restrictions on international migration generate a missing market in work permits, with important policy implications.

    While citizens have a right to accept any job offer in their country, that right is not marketable nor extended to foreigners. There is a missing market. One solution is to allow people to rent out their right-to-work for a period of their choice. On the other side of the market, foreigners can purchase time-bound work permits. Better social protection in host countries would thus be financed by tapping into unexploited gains from international migration.

    Michael Lokshin, a Lead Economist with the World Bank, and Martin Ravallion, Edmond D. Villani Professor, Department of Economics, Georgetown University, discuss the policy ideas in the working paper. The discussion is chaired by Asli Demirgüç-Kunt, Chief Economist, Europe and Central Asia, World Bank.

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    Michael Lokshin


    Michael Lokshin is a Lead Economist with the Office of the Chief Economist for Europe and Central Asia, at the World Bank. Prior to that, Michael was a Lead Economist and Manager in the Development Data Group of the World Bank. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1999 after which he joined the research group at the World Bank as a Young Economist (YE program). His research focuses on the areas of poverty and inequality measurement, labor economics, and applied econometrics.


    Martin Ravallion


    Martin Ravallion holds the inaugural Edmond D. Villani Chair of Economics at Georgetown University. Prior to joining Georgetown in 2013 he was Director of the Development Research Group at the World Bank. Martin joined the World Bank in 1988 and worked in almost all sectors and all regions over the following 24 years. Prior to joining the Bank, he was on the faculty of the Australian National University. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the London School of Economics. Martin’s main research interests over the last 30 years have concerned poverty and policies for fighting it.


  • Date: November 21, 2019, 10:00AM – 11:30AM
  • Venue: J1-050, World Bank J building
  • Chair: Asli Demirgüç-Kunt, Chief Economist, Europe and Central Asia, World Bank
  • Speaker: Michael Lokshin, Lead Economist, Office of the Chief Economist - Europe and Central Asia Region, World Bank
  • Speaker: Martin Ravallion, Edmond D. Villani Professor, Department of Economics, Georgetown University
  • CONTACT: Ekaterina Ushakova