Labor Market Research in Saudi Arabia

 

Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at Harvard Kennedy School, with the support of the Human Resource Development Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (HRDF), funds empirical studies of labor market issues in Saudi Arabia. EPoD is now calling for proposals from researchers for both pilot studies and full research projects, as well as small travel grants.

The Ministry of Labor of Saudi Arabia has, since the late 2000s, built a large portfolio of labor market policies to address some of the Kingdom’s key economic issues. Key policy leaders from the ministry have formed a collaboration with EPoD at Harvard Kennedy School to design a research-policy engagement around these initiatives. HRDF in Saudi Arabia has partnered with EPoD to support and catalyze this research and utilize the resulting policy outputs. The HRDF-EPoD collaboration seeks to build on the principles of EPoD's Smart Policy Design approach, generate in-depth knowledge of the current constraints in the areas of employment and job creation in Saudi Arabia, and to design and test potential policy solutions using these findings in order to improve outcomes for Saudi men, women, and youth.

Under this initiative, EPoD will fund rigorous empirical research to improve labor market outcomes in Saudi Arabia. Research can also focus on building a better bridge between economic theory and the Saudi context, though it is important that research outputs are relevant to labor policy in Saudi Arabia. The broad research priorities of this RFP are aligned with key strategic objectives identified by the Ministry, and are presented in the RFP Announcement. Additionally, our Background Paper provides a review of existing evidence and labor policies in Saudi Arabia.

If a researcher is uncertain about whether a research project is eligible for funding under this RFP, please contact epod_rfp@hks.harvard.edu. Researchers who may be interested in submitting to future RFP rounds are also encouraged to contact us for further information.

The third round RFP is now open. Please see the Request for Proposals tab to learn more. 

The Background Paper provided a foundation for this research-policy collaboration. It brought together 35+ researchers from top global institutions to identify the policy and theoretical grounding for further work. The document targets policy and academic audiences, and is organized around six key themes which emerged while conducting research:

  • Human Capital Development and Job Creation
  • Employability and Unemployment
  • Saudization and Quotas
  • Women in the Labor Market
  • Youth Employment
  • Matching in Markets

The Paper begins with an Executive Summary, which presents the economic framework through which the analysis was conducted, followed by a series of chapters that each present a contextualized theme and discuss relevant current policy responses to labor market constraints. The document also includes a detailed appendix of descriptions of each policy discussed in the chapters.

Researchers applying to the RFP should carefully consider the analytical framework and the specific policy challenges outlined in the Paper when designing their research programs.

To view the Background Paper, click here: Background Paper - April 2015

 

The research funded through the EPoD Evidence-Based Policy for the Saudi Labor Market initiative continues to expand and produce policy-relevant data and evidence.

To date, we have funded 25 research projects involving 48 researchers. Click below to read some of the policy insights that have been published summarizing relevant lessons from the research.

 

Round 1 Projects:

Accelerating Saudi Women's Integration into the Labor Market

Patricia Cortes, Boston University

Reem Al Saud, Harvard University

Claudia Goldin, Harvard University

Jennifer Peck, Swarthmore College

Marianne Bertrand, University of Chicago

 

Reducing Unemployment Through Jobseeker Support

 

Rema Hanna, Harvard University

Rohini Pande, Harvard University

 

Improving Soft Skills for Saudi Youth

Dr. Adriana Kugler, Georgetown University

Yulia Chentsova, Georgetown University

Lulwah Ayyoub, Georgetown University

Dr. Mohammad Gharawi, Insitute of Public Administration

 

The Effects of Nitaqat on Saudi Employment and Earnings

Conrad Miller, University of Berkeley

Jennifer Peck, Swarthmore College

 

Improving the College Admissions System to Increase Employment

Onur Kesten, Carnegie Mellon University

Understanding and Shifting Social Norms of Female Labor Force Participation in Saudi Arabia

David Yanagizawa-Drott, University of Zurich

Leo Bursztyn, University of Chicago

Sarah Omar al-Humoud, Imam University

 

Building Research Infrastructure for Saudi Labor Market Research

Nada Eissa, Georgetown University

Rema Hanna, Harvard University

Jennifer Peck, Swarthmore College

 

Round 2 Projects:

 

Expanding Female Access to the Job Market through Affordable Commute

Jawaher Al-Sudairy, Harvard University

Erica Field, Duke University

Kate Vyborny, Duke University

 

Data Driven Computational Models for Prediction and Simulation of Path Dependencies in Complex, Dynamic Labor Market System

Dr. Faiyaz Doctor, University of Essex

Dr. Rahat Iqbal, Coventry University

Dr. Kasim Randeree, Coventry University

 

Improving Job Search and Job Placements through Peer Effects

Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, Virginia Tech

Sudipta Sarangi, Virginia Tech

Wen You, Virginia Tech

 

Information Interventions in Higher Education: Developing Career Readiness in Saudi Arabia

Ina Ganguli, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Basit Zafar, Federal Reserve Bank of New York

 

Understanding Saudi College Student-Employer Matches and Preferences

Alessandra L Gonzalez, University of Chicago

Collaboration with Job Creation and Employment Commission

Asim Khwaja, Harvard University

Jamal Haidar, Harvard University

Request for Proposals (RFP)

Saudi Arabia Labor Market and Social Development Research
Round 3.0

Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at Harvard Kennedy School, with the support of the Human Resource Development Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (HRDF) and the Ministry of Labor and Social Development (MLSD), will fund a new set of empirical studies of labor market and social development issues in Saudi Arabia.

EPoD is now calling for proposals from researchers for both pilot studies and full research projects. Please find proposal documents below. Proposals are due by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on Friday, 08 June 2018.

EPoD will fund rigorous empirical research that seeks to improve labor market and social development outcomes in Saudi Arabia based on key strategic objectives identified in the National Transformation Program for the MLSD. Research can also focus on building a better bridge between economic theory and the Saudi context, though it is important that research outputs are relevant to labor or social development policy in Saudi Arabia. The research priorities are:
 

  • Human Capital Development and Job Creation
  • Employability and Unemployment
  • Saudization and Quotas
  • Women in the Labor Market
  • Youth Employment
  • Matching in Markets
  • Social Development

EPoD’s Background Paper provides a review of existing evidence and policies in Saudi Arabia.

We welcome proposals that fit within multiple themes; however, except in rare circumstances, proposals must fall within at least one of the research priorities articulated by the MLSD as they relate to Saudi Arabia.  We also welcome proposals that address one or more of these themes through the lens of job creation. 

If a researcher is uncertain about whether a research project is eligible for funding under this RFP, please contact epod_rfp@hks.harvard.edu. Researchers who may be interested in submitting to future RFP rounds are also encouraged to contact us for further information.
 

Proposal Documents
RFP Announcement
Proposal Form
Guidelines and Instructions
Budget Template
Budget Justification Form
Q & A Form
 

Logo: MoL + HRDF