Development Through Seasonal Worker Programs: The Case of New Zealand's RSE Program

30 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by John Gibson

John Gibson

University of Waikato; Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

David J. McKenzie

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: January 1, 2014

Abstract

Seasonal worker programs are increasingly seen as offering the potential to be part of international development policy. New Zealand's Recognised Seasonal Employer program is one of the first and most prominent of programs designed with this perspective. This paper provides a detailed examination of this policy through the first six seasons. This includes the important role of policy facilitation measures taken by governments and aid agencies. The evolution of the program in terms of worker numbers is discussed, along with new data on the (high) degree of circularity in worker movements, and new data on (very low) worker overstay rates. There appears to have been little displacement of New Zealand workers, and new data show Recognised Seasonal Employer workers to be more productive than local labor and that workers appear to gain productivity as they return for subsequent seasons. The program has also benefitted the migrants participating in the program, with increases in per capita incomes, expenditure, savings, and subjective well-being. Taken together, this evidence suggests that the program is largely living up to its promise of a "triple win" for migrants, their sending countries in the Pacific, and New Zealand.

Keywords: Labor Markets, Work & Working Conditions, Corporate Social Responsibility, Tertiary Education, Labor Standards

Suggested Citation

Gibson, John and McKenzie, David John, Development Through Seasonal Worker Programs: The Case of New Zealand's RSE Program (January 1, 2014). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6762, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2387196

John Gibson (Contact Author)

University of Waikato ( email )

Te Raupapa
Private Bag 3105
Hamilton, 3240
New Zealand

Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

19 Milne Terrace
Island Bay
Wellington, 6002
New Zealand

David John McKenzie

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
58
Abstract Views
434
rank
398,453
PlumX Metrics