REintegration through Active Labour Market reforms


Start date: 1 January, 2019 End date: 31 December, 2022 Project type: Research collaboration projects in growth and transition countries (Window 2) Project code: 18-M08-KU Countries: Myanmar Thematic areas: Economic development and value chains, Production, industry and labour market, Lead institution: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Partner institutions: Centre for Economic and Social Development (CESD), Myanmar Project coordinator: John Rand Total grant: 4,978,650 DKK

Project summary

Prioritizing an inclusive growth agenda, the Government of Myanmar is highlighting a well-functioning and sufficiently regulated labour market as a key element for success. It has thereforeset in motion a myriad of labour market initiatives with the intention to improve the dynamism of the labour market. Little is, however, known about the potential consequences of these recent reform initiatives both in terms of overall job-creation, the formal/informal sector divide, and the potential consequences for the vulnerable and poor. The REALM project seeks to initiate a process to help fill this knowledge gap, and to provide relevant stakeholders access to research-based evidence that can help shape and re-design policies.

REALM stands on two legs. First, it consists of a rigorous quantitative data component seeking new knowledge, both in terms of academia and policy, on the impact of social security provision and skills certified worker training on labour dynamics. REALM, moreover, looks at the impact of the recent changes to the minimum wage law by studying its impact on wage inequality and changes in sectoral composition. Second, REALM will rely on a strong capacity building component, with a focus on training-of-trainers (TOT) within the areas of the work packages of the research component. Through such a setup, research generated knowledge generated will naturally flow to relevant institutions, government think-tanks, and other relevant research and policy oriented bodies.


First year report
REALM is a project trying to understand of the impact of recent labour market reforms in Myanmar. It is a two pillar project with a strong capacity building component and a quantitative research component, that require access to larger scale nationally representative data. In the first year of REALM, focus has therefore been on obtaining access to the necessary data and on providing relevant training-of-trainers (TOT) courses to staff at CESD. Access to three key data sources have been completed (LFS 2015 and 2017, MLCS 2017 and MEMS 2017 and 2019) and after a thorough validation process the data is now ready for analysis. The research team was during 2019 actively involved in the data collection of the MEMS enterprise data, and this data (2 datasets) will form a central part of the analytical work being carried out in 2020 and 2021. Moreover, two TOT courses have been delivered at CESD, and a first research working paper on gender segregation and gender wage gaps is forthcoming.

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