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Call for papers: Transforming economies – for better jobs

Given the increasing supply of secondary- and tertiary-educated workers in developing countries, as well as the large movements of young adults to cities and towns — and their aspirations for a better future — the lack of productive jobs for men and women is both an economic and a political challenge. Accordingly, the creation of productive jobs is an essential precondition for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on decent work and gender equality. In recent decades, many developing countries have seen reasonably strong rates of economic growth, yet the pace of structural transformation in these countries has been uneven, with limited success in creating jobs in the more productive sectors of economies.
About the conference
The conference will discuss the challenges of productive job creation in many different country contexts, across all developing regions: Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East. It will engage with current debates around the future of work in the face of rapid labour-saving technological advances, the changing nature of globalization, with resulting implications for the prospects for structural transformation in low- and middle-income countries.
The conference will also feature analysis on the poverty and inequality consequences of structural transformation through the lens of labour market dynamics. Key questions to discuss will also be the persistent barriers to productive and well-paid jobs for women and disadvantaged groups, especially in manufacturing and services.
While the lack of structural transformation in many developing countries has been the key impediment to their ability to achieve transformative growth, there remains considerable uncertainty on the type of policies and investments that provide the most effective ways to create productive jobs in high-value agriculture, manufacturing, services, and the extractive industries. An important goal of the conference is to identify avenues for addressing some of these uncertainties.
With that objective, the conference will bring together about 300-350 participants from academic, government, and development communities from across the world and provide a forum to discuss innovative, theoretical, and empirical research and its policy take-aways. The conference will consist of plenary sessions with keynote speakers, parallel sessions with contributed papers, a policy event, and a poster session.
Submission procedure
Interested applicants wishing to present original research at the conference on the topics discussed above should complete the online application form. We particularly encourage submissions from early-career, female, and developing country researchers.
Each paper submission will require:
1 An up-to-date CV
2 An abstract not exceeding 300 words in plain text which should summarize the research question, the main methods and data, and key findings of the paper and the larger implications of the research
3 A full-length paper OR an extended abstract
•• the first page of the paper or extended abstract should include all author names and affiliations and the above-mentioned 300-word abstract
•• in PDF format
•• written in English
•• full-length papers should be 6,000-10,000 words long whereas the extended abstracts should be 1,500-1,800 words long
Any queries on the call for papers should be sent to
Previously unpublished papers presented at the conference will be considered for publication in the WIDER Working Paper series.
Important dates
28 February 2019 paper/extended abstract submission deadline 23:59 UTC+2
5 April 2019 target date for acceptance/rejection notification
1 August 2019 final papers due
11-13 September 2019 conference
Conference package and travel support
For accepted participants, travel support can be provided for one author per selected paper using the most economical travel route subject to UN guidelines; preference will be given to authors from developing countries. If required, UNU-WIDER can also provide visa support.
UNU-WIDER will provide hotel accommodation and most meals during the conference. There is no conference fee.
Conference language
The conference proceedings will be in English; no simultaneous translation will be available.

Download Call for papers