Past Event

Symposium on New Technologies, Jobs, Growth, and Development

September 22, 2017
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Event time is displayed in your time zone.
World Bank, Washington DC

By invitation only.

The Concept:

This symposium on New Technologies, Jobs, Growth and Development follows a discussion on disruptive technologies for development initiated by the World Bank’s President Jim Kim to better position the WBG as a leader in technology innovation to achieve our twin goals. 


The notion that new and potentially disruptive technologies can be very productive but also cause significant dislocations to both product and labor markets is fairly well accepted. What is less clear is the magnitude of the effects and what it is that governments can do, if anything, to ease adjustments to markets that are already undergoing significant change as seen in worsening income inequality and high local unemployment in many countries. Increasing our understanding of the underlying phenomena will help us advocate for effective policy responses that are economically efficient, beneficial for inclusiveness, and helpful for political and social stability.


In recent years, the Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice in partnership with the Development Partners, European Commission, Austria, EU, Norway, and Switzerland through the Competitiveness, Industries and Innovation Program (CIIP) have supported the development of policy initiatives at the industry level to generate more and better paid jobs in developing economies. These policy initiatives are aimed at attracting private investment, increasing firm level productivity, and producing higher value goods. Obtaining a better understanding of the effect of new and disruptive technologies on markets would help shape better policy initiatives for developing economies in Africa, Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific.    


The basic problem that we will address is how to use the experiences of more advanced economies to help shape better policies affecting emerging market and developing economies as they inevitably face the results of disruptive technologies (DT). Disruptive implies that the way things are produced changes so substantially that it affects production, employment, and capital flow in a fundamental way. In a world in which development success has been intrinsically tied to export orientation, the notion of DT affecting the development paradigm is an eventuality worth exploring. 


The way in which markets react to DT will depend on the flexibility and skills in labor markets, the breadth and depth of capital markets, the speed with which technology can be adapted and/or adopted, and the underlying efficiency of the market and its institutions. Many countries invest in innovation without the necessary infrastructure to enable markets to undertake the adjustments that DT will require. Thus, a new kind of middle-income trap can emerge. For this reason, bringing academics, experts, policymakers and other together will advance our understanding of the phenomenon, its implications, and how policy can react to it.



9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.


Opening the Event: Kristalina Georgieva, CEO, World Bank Group


9:15am - 11:00am: Session One: The Facts As Best We Know Them About Technology and Jobs


Chair: Prof. Jan Svejnar (Center on Global Economic Governance at Columbia University)


Lead Presenter: Prof. David Autor (MIT)


Commentators: Prof. François Bourguignon (Paris School of Economics)

Susan Lund (McKinsey Global Institute)

Mary C. Hallward-Driemeier (World Bank Group)


11:15 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.: Session Two: What Does the New Technology Story Imply for Growth Strategies and Development Outcomes?


Chair: Prof. Danny Leipziger (Growth Dialogue at the George Washington University School of Business)


Lead Presenter: Prof. Ricardo Hausmann (JFK School, Harvard)


Commentators: Prof. Stefan Dercon (Oxford University), Chief Economist, DfID

Prof. Nora Lustig (Tulane University)

William F. Maloney (World Bank Group)


2:15 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.: Session Three: Implications of New Technologies for Public Policies


Chair: Jan Walliser, World Bank Group, Vice-President, Global Practices for Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions


Panelists: Hon. Luis Fernando Mejia, DirectorGeneral, DNP, Colombia

Dr. Güven Sak, Executive Director, TEPAV, Turkey

Hon. Eduardo Bitran, Vice-President, CORFO, Chile

Dr. Hans-Peter Lankes, Vice-President, IFC


4:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.: Closing Remarks by the Conveners

Anabel Gonzalez, Senior Director, Trade and Competitiveness, World Bank Group

Danny Leipziger, Growth Dialogue, George Washington University

Jan Svejnar, Center on Global Economic Governance, Columbia University


Co-sponsored by the Growth Dialogue and the World Bank Group. 

Contact Information

Center on Global Economic Governance