Organised by the Centre of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge in association with the Department of Politics and International Studies and the Woolf Institute, with support from the Moroccan British Society and the British Council Morocco.
Since the advent of structural reform in 1983, successive Moroccan governments have followed the guidelines of international financial institutions, such as the World Bank, by encouraging free trade, instigating public sector reform, encouraging privatization of public services and investing in particular industries like tourism, to encourage growth. One consequence of such market reforms has been the rise of unemployment, particularly among younger educated generations of Moroccans, and decline in other social indicators as well. This has raised the question as to whether there is any linkage between the economic reforms undertaken and the social trends that have been noted since the reform programmes began.
Interestingly enough, pushed by European and other creditors in International Financial Institutions to reduce public debt, governing political parties, regardless of ideological affiliation, have not returned to the public sector to devise solutions to, for example, unemployment. Instead, the emphasis of aid agencies and Moroccan governments has been on training and specific schemes to counter unemployment - for instance, the loan scheme co-funded by the State in the 1990s for young entrepreneurs. At the same time, European and American initiatives toward the Mediterranean and the MENA region prioritize issues of concern to them, namely migration and free trade, rather than explicitly local employment growth.
This workshop will explore how economic policy can bring about job creation in the future, especially for younger Moroccans below forty years of age. Acknowledging that macro-economic policies have not generated acceptable levels of job creation, income distribution and declines in poverty rates, the workshop is intended to showcase empirical studies and suggest possible alternative approaches to the issue from those currently in force. The workshop aims to bring together scholars to discuss innovative methods of expanding labour markets across a range of sectors and industries. Finally, the proceedings of the workshop will be reproduced as an edited volume and the workshop itself will provide the basis for the development of an academic network
on economic policy and job creation in North Africa.
Abstracts are invited which address one or more of the themes outlined below:
1) Economic Theory in Practice
Papers are invited to review and compare theories of job creation in economics, critiquing assumptions about the connections between policy and practice in job creation. This theme includes the issue of job creation in neoliberal economic theory. How do contemporary macro-economic theories influence economic and employment security, poverty rates, and income distribution?
2) Understanding Micro-Economic Decision-Making
How have international aid, economic policy and national macro-economic initiatives influenced micro-economic decision-making and social outcomes in Morocco and similar countries? Who are the social actors involved in economic development and what are their interests? Papers may cover
traditional sectors (agriculture, fishing, phosphates, manufacturing) but also international and public investment in social development and newer domains such as information technology.
3) The Organisation of Labour Markets
We invite papers that examine the organisation of labour markets in Morocco, with a particular focus on education, skills training and technology. How do educational syllabuses, the delivery of education, training, technology transfer, and the domestic supply of labour correspond to demand? This theme will provide an opportunity for the examination of local domestic labour markets and training initiatives as well as comparative case studies.
4) Recruitment to the Public Sector
How are the dynamics of entry into public sector employment changing? How are government policy makers, employers, graduates and other social actors responding to these changes? What accounts for the continuing appeal of public sector employment vis-à-vis other, higher risk and higher reward employment trajectories? At a theoretical level, does it make sense to talk of a clear distinction between public and private sectors, or are the boundaries blurred?
The deadline for submissions of abstracts (250 words, to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com)is October 15, 2013. Accepted participants will be asked to submit a working paper (max 7500 words) by January 15, 2013. Participants will be provided with a bursary for travel to and from
Cambridge together with board and accommodation in Cambridge. Submissions from young scholars and recent graduates are encouraged.
Dr Shana Cohen
CB5 8BJ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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