Well-being and employment of young people in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam Is work enough?

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Abstract

Motivation

Investing in youth employment is central to development agendas. However, policy directed towards increasing employment rates among young people needs to consider the well-being implications of the different kinds of jobs they are able to access. This would help countries to meet the Sustainable Development Goal of decent work for all, including young people, by 2030.


Purpose

This paper examines the association between the well-being of young people in Ethiopia, Peru, India and Vietnam and their employment and the job attributes of the work they do.


Methods and approach

The study uses five waves of the Young Lives longitudinal survey for a sample of children who are followed from age eight to 22. Regression analysis estimates the relationship between well-being, employment and job attributes, taking into account gender, wealth, current and childhood health and exposure to shocks over life-courses from age eight.


Findings

The results show that in these four countries, employment does not have an unqualified positive effect on well-being. Not all jobs are ‘good jobs’. Job attributes matter, specifically, who employs the individual, their pay, the work environment and the pride they take in their work. Well-being is predicted by current and childhood health and household wealth with ownership of consumer durables associated more strongly with well-being than housing quality or access to services. Greater exposure to shocks from age eight is found to have lasting effects on well-being into young adulthood.


Policy implications

Policy aimed at improving young people’s opportunities for employment in the global south also to consider the types of jobs they are able to access and how this impacts their well-being. Policy also needs to take into account pre-labour market conditions and circumstances.

Details

Original languageEnglish
JournalDevelopment Policy Review
Early online date18 May 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 May 2021

Keywords

  • Well-being, youth employment, life course, job quality, developing countries