Global Actors and Policies on Youth Unemployment: Historical and Comparative Perspectives

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 16:30
Location: Hörsaal III (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Ross FERGUSSON, The Open University, United Kingdom
In the early years of the 2007/8 global financial crisis, a number of International Governmental Organisations (IGOs) that had previously taken little or no interest stepped up to a global crisis of youth unemployment that had reached unprecedented proportions. They developed analyses of the issues and promulgated policy proposals, forging a new field of global policy. A detailed study of the policy analyses and interventions of nine major IGOs (Fergusson and Yeates, 2013) found competing, contested and often conflicting prognostications in this field. It also found notable shifts and convergences amongst some IGOs as they contemplated the severity of the crisis and adapted their responses.

Global mass youth unemployment now appears to be approaching endemic levels of persistence at almost ubiquitous scales. Diverse global policy actors continue to be active in this field, evidencing engagement with the common but divergent country profiles of youth unemployment, and crafting policy responses that might be portable, if not universalisable.

The paper reflects on the features and significance of international organisations’ policy discourses and practices in relation to restructuring youth labour markets. It updates and substantially extends Fergusson and Yeates' earlier (pre-2012) comparative historical data and analysis of IGO responses. Based on original unpublished research, it reviews most recent (2012+) evidence of further IGO involvement in this field, and assesses whether there is evidence of continuing convergence and further shifts in their policy positions. It asks whether IGOs have re-interpreted the common drivers of (youth) unemployment, and contemplated new policies and modes of intervention that are capable of addressing the potentially profound social and economic consequences of depriving young people of the right to work. 

Reference: Fergusson, R. and Yeates, N. (2013) ‘International governmental organisations and global youth unemployment: the normative and ideational foundations of policy discourses’ , Policy and Politics (On-line)