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The performance of labor markets is important both for the smooth functioning of the economy, and in providing accurate signals about labor supply and demand to the education and training sector. This examination of Bank country economic and sector reports from 1985-90 finds increasing attention to labor market issues over time. Wages and unemployment are the issues most often and most thoroughly treated in economic reports. Issues are treated most often and comprehensively in rapidly-growing countries with high levels of human resource development (high primary enrollment rates). While the Bank has given attention to labor market issues in the analysis of country economic and education sector reports, these issues have not been accorded priority in the policy dialogue with governments. The best predictor of attention to labor market issues in the policy dialogue is through analysis. More attention to labor markets early in the Bank-country dialogue will help build support for politically-sensitive labor market reforms and lead to better integration of labor market issues into the policy dialogue.

Publisher: World Bank

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