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The Role of Small Cities in Shaping Youth Employment Outcomes in Indonesia (TTI2)

The future of sustainable growth in several emerging markets rests on the ability of their young populations to find gainful employment. This demographic opportunity is particularly relevant in Indonesia, home to the world's fourth-largest population, where 2.5 million youth are added to the workforce annually.

Heavily fueled by large-scale rural-urban migration, estimated at 30 million people, Indonesia is also experiencing rapid growth of small, secondary or non-metropolitan cities. These cities, which have registered impressive increases in their populations and a concentration of GDP, serve simultaneously as origins, destinations, and transit points for young Indonesian men and women seeking employment and skills. Given that the trends in employment and growth in these areas are likely to intensify over the next few decades, creating pathways to provide high-quality, productive employment opportunities at scale will remain a policy priority in Indonesia.

There are, however, several gaps in research on the role of small cities in socio-economic development. Working with the JustJobs Network Inc., based in Washington, DC and in New Delhi, India, this research project will explore the role of small cities in shaping employment outcomes for migrant youth, specifically for women and youth from non-metropolitan backgrounds. The research will focus on the governance and policy frameworks necessary for these small cities to become potential launch pads for skills development and higher-quality employment opportunities. Based on its finding, this study will offer suggestions for policy reform to small city governments to improve employment outcomes for migrant youth in particular.

As this project is a part of a comparative research study between two countries, it will also be implemented in India. As the second-largest Asian economy, India faces challenges similar to those described above. The research findings from India will provide a richer analysis of the role of small cities in shaping youth employment outcomes in large, middle-income economies in the region.

This project is funded through IDRC's Think Tank Initiative, which is a multi-funder program dedicated to strengthening independent policy research institutions, or think tanks, in developing countries. Other funders include the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, UK Department for International Development, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The program aims to enhance their ability to provide sound research that informs and influences policy. This second TTI phase will fund 43 institutions, helping them consolidate their role as credible development actors in their countries, and, in some cases, regionally and internationally.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
30 months
IDRC Officer
Navsharan Singh
Total Funding
CA$ 263,200.00
Governance and Justice
Governance and Justice
Think Tank Initiative
Institution Country
United States
Project Leader
JustJobs Network Inc.