For national and subnational governments, the pursuit of employment opportunities for their people constitutes a top imperative. Not only is the level of employment perhaps the foremost determinant of public sentiment about the health of an economy, but there is reason to think that employment policies may unleash positive externalities that would not be enjoyed without government involvement. In a world in which goods, services, capital, and sometimes labor all flow back and forth across borders, there is, however, a danger that one government’s policies will be taken amiss by other governments. This paper attempts to categorize the sorts of interventions one might see in attempts to create jobs and provides an analytical review of a number of relevant international trade literatures that have developed to address such concerns. It also looks at the rules that exist among existing institutions governing the pursuit of jobs and asks what additional institutions might be necessary. Finally, it attempts to characterize interventions by their potential for stirring conflict and to draw conclusions about how such conflict could best be avoided.
Levy, P.I. Potential for International Rivalry as Governments Pursue Jobs. The World Bank, Washington DC, USA (2012) ii + 42 pp.