Labour Markets, Poverty, and Development

By Giorgio Barba Navaretti; Riccardo Faini et al. | Go to book overview

FOREWORD

When Luca d'Agliano, after graduating in economics from Churchill College, Cambridge, applied to the Einaudi Foundation for a research scholarship (in July 1983), he described his research programme as an attempt to 'combine close study of purely theoretical models with a study of problems afflicting the developing countries in their struggle against poverty'. His own life--and the sure prospects of a brilliant research career--were tragically terminated the following year in a car accident. The research need that he had identified in his proposal (and which he was addressing with remarkable speed and imagination in Oxford during 1983-4) could not, alas, be further pursued by him. Luca's statement and the example of the works he had started remain as significant reminders of what needs to be done if we are to have a systematic understanding of the problems of underdevelopment and poverty, and to identify reasoned procedures for overcoming them.

The conference that was organized on the tenth anniversary of Luca's death, was planned not only as a tribute to his memory, but also as an attempt to join him, across the division of time, in combining theoretical reasoning with a realistic understanding of practical problems to seek feasible solutions. Some of the issues that Luca himself identified in his work are well reflected in the choice of topics in this volume. This applies particularly to the crucial role of remunerative work in removing poverty and the need to understand better the processes of decision-making involving employment, effort, and productivity. These were indeed among Luca's principal concerns in the research he had begun during 1983-4.

A variety of questions in this general field have been addressed in these essays. Their respective coverage is described in some detail in the Introduction, written by Giorgio Barba Navaretti, Riccardo Faini and Giovanni Zanalda, which follows. But some examples may be given here. How does the growth of employment relate to that of economic expansion in general, and what conditions influence this relationship ( Grilli and Zanalda)? How much insight do we get from standard models of trade and exchange in search of jobs and take the associated risks ( Daveri and Faini)? How much does the urban informal sector help in expanding employment and what conditions govern its effectiveness ( Ranis and Stewart)? Can the interests of employment and of labour best be served by promoting stronger prospects, or by supporting weaker links with the hope of making them better ( Barba Navaretti)? How does female employment relate to schooling, and why is the schooling of girls so often neglected in many

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