Increased exports in Sri Lanka can improve jobs, raise wages – World Bank

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Increasing exports can lead to better jobs and higher wages in Sri Lanka, including more formal jobs for women, according to a World Bank report released today.

Labor market policies can help different groups of workers to acquire the right skills and to ensure that the gains of more exports are shared more broadly across society, it said.

The new report, “Exports to Jobs: Boosting the Gains from Trade in South Asia”, launched today in Colombo, shows that increasing exports would boost average wages.

The report, jointly produced by the World Bank and the International Labor Organization (ILO), breaks new ground in examining the impact of exports on local labor markets in South Asia. It uses an innovative approach, analyzing the effect on local employment and wages of changes in exports by combining disaggregated data from household-level or worker-level surveys with trade data from India and Sri Lanka. The approach builds on a new wave of research looking at how globalization might contribute to local jobs and wages, but, unlike previous studies, it focuses on exports.

The report makes policy recommendations that could contribute to better labor market outcomes, exports diversification and more inclusive labor force by increasing the participation of disadvantaged groups.

“Our research shows that exports can improve the performance of local labor markets and that policies need to be put in place to increase exports in South Asia, while ensuring that the benefits of higher exports are shared more broadly,” said Gladys Lopez-Acevedo, World Bank Lead Economist and one of the report’s authors. “Addressing constraints that prevent people from moving and from switching to new jobs is important.”

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