by Chandra Rodrigo and Nimal Attanayake

Labour Economics Series

The demonstrated sensitivity of macroeconomic variables to overall economic policies and strategies invites a review of labour market phenomena vis-a vis development strategy in some cause and effect relationship. This paper seeks to examine some recorded outcomes on Sri Lanka ‘s employment front over the recent past in relation to alternative development strategies pursued.

The inquiry will have its focus on the post-1970 experiences but with some references back and forth to the decade of the 1960s. Although the analysis will have implications for policy, the exercise should primarily be seen as a stylized presentation of facts derived from Sri Lanka ‘s (empirical) experience rather than a rigorous evaluation of alternative strategy options from a planning perspective.

The format of the paper will be as follows: In Part I we attempt a summary presentation of developments in the employment/unemployment scene as constructed from available census and other evidence. Part II presents a brief overview of overall development strategies pursued over the period identifying continuities and discontinues. In Part III – the synthesis – the evidence in Parts I and II is brought together to derive some conclusions on the employment consequences of the alternative strategies.