The Employment Consequences of Alternative Development Strategies in Sri Lanka

Research team

Chandra Rodrigo
Nimal Attanayake


E Book


The IPS Publication is available for sale from the IPS premises at No. 100/20, Independence Avenue, Colombo 07 (Tel: +94-11-2143107, +94-11-2143100), and bookshops island-wide. For more details, contact the IPS Publications Unit.


Published Year



US$ 10 (for hardcopy)

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.

Table of Contents:

Employment/Unemployment: An Overview
Employment: Some Structural Aspects
Development Strategy, 1960-85
Pre-1977 Development Strategy
The Post-1977 Development Strategy
Development Strategies: The Employment Consequences
Sectoral Performance
List of Tables