Mekong Initiative research awardees announced

The Greater Mekong Subregion Research Network (GMS-Net), together with Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC), launched a call for proposals to gather high-quality development research on better job prospects for youth, women, and low-skilled workers in the Mekong countries.

The Cambodia Development Resource Institute (CDRI), a leading independent policy research institute in Cambodia, serves as the hub of GMS-Net. This is the Network's first competitive call.

Institutes in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and China's Yunnan province were eligible to submit proposals. More than 50 researchers applied to the call. A committee of education and labour experts, set up by CDRI, selected eight teams.

1. “Vocational training and labour market transitions: A randomized experiment among Cambodian young adults,” led by Dr Chandarany Ouch, Research Fellow, Cambodia Development Resource Institute, examines the effects of participating in a vocational training program targeted at unprivileged Cambodian youth.

2. “Wage inequality by gender, ethnic group, and geographical location in Cambodia,” led by Dr Savuth Cheng, Senior Researcher from the Mekong Institute of Cambodia, investigates wage inequality among Cambodian workers.

3. “Negotiation the labour market in Cambodia: Youth, inequality, and transitions into working life,” led by Dr Chivoin Peou, Professor, Department of International Studies, Royal University of Phnom Penh, explores the transition from school to work for young Cambodians.

4. “Reasons and consequences of the skill mismatch of Chinese firms in the labour market of Lao PDR,” led by Dr Wen Shuhui, Professor, Kunming University of Science and Technology, aims at identifying the nature and the scale of the mismatch between the skills demanded by Chinese firms operating in Laos and those offered by Laotian workers.

5. “Ethnic and gender wage disparities in Lao PDR,” led by Keopheth Phoumphon, Co-President, Social Development Alliance Association, will examine the wage gap and working conditions for women and ethnic minorities.

6. “Impact of the 300 Baht minimum wage policy on migrant workers in Thailand: a qualitative study,” led by Dr Jirawat Panpiemras, Research Fellow, Thailand Development Research Institute, will study the recently implemented minimum wage among migrant workers in Thailand.

7. “Impacts of minimum wages on employment and wage distribution in Vietnam: gender and age perspectives,” led by Dr La Hai Anh, Senior Researcher, Centre for Analysis and Forecasting, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, will investigate the impact of minimum wages on employment and wage distribution.

8. “Labour market effects of mandatory social insurance policy,” by Nguyen Thi Kim Dung, Senior Researcher, Central Institute for Economic Management, will analyse how the recent rise in compulsory social insurance contributions in Vietnam has affected labour demand and wages.

Throughout 2016 and 2017, the researchers will continue to receive mentorship by experts working on labour issues in Asia. In early 2018, GMS-Net will produce a final report building on this research.

Published: 25 Apr 2016

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