Recommendations on Egyptian labor market policies

This is a playlist for experts who were generous enough to give us a few minutes to inform the public about research they are undergoing on Labor issues in Egypt, challenges, opportunities, hick-ups, and lay a knowledge-based perspective of how things look like especially from 2006 up to 2012. Since, readers are currently employed, or were employed at some point in someway,  I would assume that Egyptians or those interested in the Egyptian labor market,  will find this playlist particularly useful.

A bit of background:
The Economic Research Forum (ERF) held a dissemination event to announce the public release of the 2012 round of the Egypt Labor Market Panel Survey (ELMPS 2012), which was carried out by ERF in cooperation with Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS). The public release of the ELMPS 2012 data provides an important opportunity for researchers to better understand the Egyptian labor market in the wake of the global financial crisis and the 25th of January, 2011 revolution. (ERF website)

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U-turn here and there

Did Egyptian workers become poorer or richer? Did the revolution affect how much Egyptians earn? Did inequality in earnings fall following the revolution? These are all questions that Dr. Mona Said tried to answer in her study titled “The Differential Dividends of Revolt? Wage and Inequality Adjustments in the Egyptian Labor Market in the Era of Financial Crisis and Revolution”. Through her study, Said wanted to examine what happens to real wages and whether inequality in wages has changed or not. She also wanted to see how the proportion of low waged individuals has evolved, and whether there is segregation in the labor market in Egypt.

Is the Egyptian labor force better or worse off? Rise and Fall
Using the four nation-wide labor force sample surveys (the 1988 LFSS, the 1998 ELMS, 2006 ELMPS and 2012 ELMPS), Said’s study found that wages took a U-turn in 2006; increasing following a period of wage erosion between 1988 and 1998. Real wages started rising again in Egypt by 2006, and rose even more in 2012, going back to the 1988 levels. Even though this is all good news to Egyptian labor, this is not the whole picture as the share of low waged workers has increased in 2012. The study shows that we witness an inverted U-shape in the share of workers who fall below the poverty line. Workers below the poverty line were 34% of the labor force in 1988, but this share increased in 1998, and increased again in 2012, following a fall in 2006. In addition, wage inequality rose in 2006, when compared to 1998, and remained stable since then.

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راي صناع القرار: اشرف العربي وزير التخطيط

بقلم راماج ندا – منتدى البحوث الاقتصادية

في إطار المؤتمر الذي ينظمه منتدى البحوث الاقتصادية حول مسح سوق العمل المصري لعام 2012، وذلك يومي 7-8 ديسمبر 2013، أكد الدكتور/ أشرف العربي، وزيرالتخطيط، في حديثه أن الحكومة تسعى لمتابعة نتيجة المسح التتبعي لسوق العمل والذي يرصد البطالة وأحوال سوق العمل خلال الفترة من 2006 إلى 2012، بالإضافة إلى السياسات الواجب اتباعها خلال الفترة القادمة لمواجهة هذه المشاكل والتحديات.

وأوضح العربي على أن الحكومة تسعى لوضع استراتيجية متكاملة للتشغيل على أن تكون جزءاً لا يتجزأ من الخطة العامة للتنمية الاقتصادية والاجتماعية. فقد أوضح أنه إذا لم يتم تفعيل هذه التوصيات والسياسات عن طريق ترجمتها إلى برامج ومخصصات وأهداف محددة في إطار زمني محدد، فستظل هناك فجوة بين الأبحاث وما يترتب عليها من توصيات ونتائج غير مُفًعّلة. ومن هنا تبرز أهمية هذا المؤتمر حيث تستمع الحكومة إلى تقييم الخبراء والمتخصصين للسياسات والإجراءات الحالية التي تتبعها مثل تأثير حزمة تنشيط الاقتصاد -والتي تبلغ حوالي 30 مليار جنية- على البطالة وخلق فرص عمل حقيقية للشباب. كما أكد العربي أن أول من يستفيد من مثل هذه الأبحاث الجادة هم صناع القرار.

What women want?

Egypt is and remains to be a traditional society with biased gender allocation of time within the household: Men specialize in market work while most; if not all; of the family responsibilities continues to be women’s responsibilities. Nevertheless, women labor force participation is a mandatory factor for economic development. Despite the remarkable increase in women’s educational rates, sometimes more than their male counterparts, participation in the labor market remains relatively low. Are the reasons resulting to this conclusion associated mostly with women themselves? Factors like marriage, fertility, reservation wages, or women’s own preferences have a say. Or are reasons tend to be driven more by the demand side of the market, factors such as discrimination or shrinking public sector? Given the notable participation of women in the Egyptian revolution and the economic scene, ERF commissioned the paper ‘Women’s Participation in Egypt over a Decade: Empirical Evidence Using Post-Revolution Panel Data’ by Rana Hendy to study how women’s participation in labor markets has affected their economic situation from 1998 up to 2012.

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The more we know, the better we become

In an attempt to solve development challenges, more accurately real problem gaps of a society,a decision maker  requires access to information. Evidence based data, information and research knowledge is one way to identify what the problem is, where the gaps are, measure its magnitude, and guide decisions to achieve rational development policies. Enabling access to micro data, is one means to ensure the continuous initiation of a wealth of new, fresh and policy relevant analysis of  reform, the Economic Research Forum (ERF) has made accessible its comprehensive Open Access Micro Data available online on household and labor market panel surveys. Feel free to check it out!

The Egyptian Labor Market Panel Survey

Event logo

Today,the Economic Research Forum (ERF) holds a two-day event to announce the main findings of ‘Egypt Labor Market Panel Survey (ELMPS) 2012’ from the 7-8th December 2013. During the event, ERF plans to disseminate results of the ELMPS 2012 survey and present a number of research papers that have built on the findings of the survey.

In this spirit, ERF launched a research project that aim at providing a detailed understanding of how political instability and challenging economic conditions have affected the performance of the Egyptian labor market in terms of the structure and evolution of main trends, female participation, youth unemployment and aspirations, labor market dynamics, labor market earnings, the contribution of MSEs to employment and income generation, international migration, among others. Some of the papers that have been commissioned and completed are available here.

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