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World Development Report 2019: The Changing Nature of Work

Source: The World Bank, 2019

 Some features of the current wave of technological progress are notable. Digital technologies allow firms to scale up or down quickly, blurring the boundaries of firms and challenging traditional production patterns. This new industrial organization poses policy questions in the áreas of privacy, competition, and taxation. The ability of governments to raise revenues is curtailed by the virtual nature of productive assets.

The World Development Report 2019: The Changing Nature of Work studies how the nature of work is changing as a result of advances in technology today.


The nature of work is changing

  • Firms can grow rapidly thanks to digital transformation, which blurs their boundaries and challenges traditional production patterns.
  • The rise of the digital platform firm means that technological effects reach more people faster than ever before.
  • Technology is changing the skills that employers seek. Workers need to be good at complex problem-solving, teamwork and adaptability.
  • Technology is changing how people work and the terms on which they work. Even in advanced economies, short-term work, often found through online platforms, is posing similar challenges to those faced by the world’s informal workers.


Responding to the changing nature of work

Source: The World Bank, 2019


What can governments do?

The 2019 WDR suggests three solutions:

  1. Invest in human capital especially in disadvantaged groups and early childhood education to develop the new skills that are increasingly in demand in the labor market, such as high-order cognitive and sociobehavioral skills.
  2. Enhance social protection to ensure universal coverage and protection that does not fully depend on having formal wage employment.
  3. Increase revenue mobilization by upgrading taxation systems, where needed, to provide fiscal space to finance human capital development and social protection.


Download the World Development Report in English here.