Varieties of structural transformation

  • Expected start date:
    Expected end date:
    Project Status:
    Project Type:
    Project Manager :
    Kunal Sen

    Structural transformation — the movement of workers from low-productivity to high-productivity activities and sectors — is an essential feature of rapid and sustained growth. This traditional pathway to economic development is becoming more challenging to sustain for low- and middle-income developing countries as more countries compete over a place in global value chains.

    This project looks at the challenges low- and middle-income countries are experiencing with ‘new’ forms of structural transformation, including tertiarization and premature deindustrialization. In light of these contemporary patterns the project will focus on producing knowledge and policy alternatives addressing the challenges of different varieties of structural transformation. This includes looking into the macro-drivers of different varieties of structural transformation and the labour market, and employment outcomes including wage inequality of different varieties of structural transformation.

    Key questions
    What are the drivers of the ‘new’ forms of structural transformation versus the ‘old’? Can tertiarization and premature deindustrialisation be reversed?
    What are the possibilities for sustained growth with new forms of structural transformation? What are the implications of labour-saving technical change?
    What are the jobs and livelihoods implications of the old and new forms of structural transformation for women and disadvantaged groups in particular? What are the poverty and inequality dynamics?

    Upon the launch of the UNU-WIDER Work Programme 2019-2023 the research programme was divided into 6 flagship projects of which “Varieties of structural transformation” is one. Two years into the work programme standalone projects have emerged from this flagship, which include the following projects: “Structural transformation — old and new paths to economic development”, “Developer’s dilemma – structural transformation, inequality dynamics, and inclusive growth”, and “ETD – Economic Transformation Database”. As of 1 January 2021, these projects will be included in Pelikan as their own entries.