Transitions between Informal and Formal Employment: Results from a Worker Survey in Bangladesh | Asian Development Bank

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Transitions between Informal and Formal Employment: Results from a Worker Survey in Bangladesh

Event | 28 March 2018 ADBI, Tokyo, Japan

Speaker: Minhaj Mahmud
Affiliation: Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS)
Time: 11:30–12:45

Background

This seminar tackles transitions between different types of formal and informal employment using the retrospective job history of 2,000 workers in two metropolitan areas of Bangladesh. The results suggest that workers transitioning between jobs are most likely to remain in the same type of employment, while substantial churn across employment types is observed. Private wage employees have a higher probability of transitioning to a new job than other types of workers, and the observed changes in earnings and job benefits suggest evidence of upward mobility. The results also suggest a non-trivial risk of downward mobility, especially for those transitioning into casual employment, which has the lowest level of earnings and benefits and the highest levels of exposure to workplace hazards and violence. Interestingly, it is found that self-employment is not always an activity of last resort. Overall, the findings suggest that there are elements of informal employment consistent with both the traditional view that it is a segmented portion of the labor market with few prospects of upward mobility, and the alternative view that it is a dynamic, entrepreneurial alternative to wage employment.

About the speaker

Minhaj Mahmud is a senior research fellow of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) and a visiting scholar of the Japan International Cooperation Agency Research Institute (JICA-RI), Tokyo. He previously taught at Queens University Belfast, Keele University, Jahangirnagar University, and BRAC University, and has held research positions at BIDS and BRAC University Institute of Governance and Development. He was also a visiting research professor at University of Tokyo and visiting faculty at Jawaharlal Nehru University and University of Dhaka. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Gothenburg and an MA in economics from the University of Manitoba.

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