THE LAB - Market systems development for decent work

The Lab: Better Markets, Better Jobs

The Lab is a global initiative funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) that generates and applies knowledge on how a market systems approach can lead to sustainable decent work. In other words, how can we make markets work better for the poor?
The Lab seeks to go beyond ‘traditional’ value chain interventions to instead take on a systemic lens that sees sectors and value chains as part of a wider system of rules, regulations and supporting functions. To transform how market systems function and create jobs, we first need to understand them. 
Read more about the Lab


  1. Value Chain Development (VCD) explained

The Lab’s Areas of Work

Whether you are new to the market systems approach or just new to how the approach can be applied to decent work, the Lab has generated an extensive portfolio of practitioner-focused content, which can help you navigate common on-the-ground challenges. Have a look at our different products:
  • Sector Selection Reports: Which value chain/sector has the highest potential? A tool to select sectors and value chains with growth potential, relevance and scope for action.
  • Rapid Market Assessments: Why they are not functioning properly? A ‘first look’ into a set of market systems and value chains.
  • Market Systems Analyses: What are the root causes of underperformance? In-depth analysis of market systems’ underlying constraints and opportunities.
  • Implementation: How to transform market systems? Examples of sustainable solutions leading to systemic change in market systems.
  • Monitoring and Results Measurement: How to measure employment and systemic change? Tools, briefs and case studies on monitoring and results measurement.
  • Briefs: What have we learned? Briefs comparing our findings in different sectors, countries and topics.

Where we work

Disclaimer: The boundaries shown on this map do not imply endorsement or acceptance by the ILO.