John Giles

World Bank, USA, and IZA, Germany

The IZA World of Labor series is useful source of information on select topics in labor economics for those in both the policy and research community. I find the briefs of other colleagues useful as a first entry point for a variety of issues and areas. I am delighted to be able to offer some insight into one area of my expertise and past research

IZA World of Labor role


Current position

Lead Economist in the Development Research Group (Human Development Team), World Bank, USA

Research interest

The movement of labor from agricultural to non-agricultural employment, internal migration and its impacts on households and communities, poverty traps, household risk-coping and risk-management behavior, long-term effects of shocks to employment, school-to-work transitions, population aging and retirement decisions in developing countries, and women's labor supply decisions in developing countries

Past positions

Senior Labor Economist, Development Economics Research Group, Human Development and Public Services, The World Bank (May 2007–February 2016); Associate Professor (on leave, with tenure), Department of Economics, Michigan State University (June 2007–May 2010); Academy Scholar, Harvard Academy, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University (September 2001–August 2003)


PhD in Economics, University of California at Berkeley, 1999

Selected publications

  • “The great proletarian cultural revolution, disruptions to education, and returns to schooling in urban China.” Economic Development and Cultural Change (2017) (with A. Park and M. Wang).

  • “Village political economy, land tenure insecurity and rural to urban migration: Evidence from China.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics (2017) (with R. Mu).

  • “Migrant labor markets and the welfare of rural households in the developing world: Evidence from China.” World Bank Economic Review (2017) (with A. de Brauw).

  • “Migrant opportunity and the educational attainment of youth in rural China.” Journal of Human Resources 52:1 (2017): 274–313 (with A. de Brauw).

  • “Did higher inequality impede growth in rural China?” Economic Journal 121:557 (2011): 1281–1309 (with D. Benjamin and L. Brandt).