Judith Shaw


Judith specialises in labour markets and livelihoods in developing countries, with a particular focus on women’s work. Within this broad field, she has published on microfinance, microenterprise development, labour migration and remittances, ICTs and development, and livelihoods in post-disaster contexts.

She has worked in Sri Lanka, India, Fiji and Papua New Guinea and has conducted consultancies and collaborative research projects with AusAID, the World Bank, the ANZ Bank, the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, Plan International, the Foundation for Development Cooperation, Australian Volunteers International, the Sri Lanka Free Trade Zone Workers Union and other Australian and international partners.

From 2006 to 2010 she was the lead investigator on two ARC Linkage Projects:

  • Leveraging remittances with microfinance: an investigation of synergies between small-scale financial services and migrant remittances in six developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region: Fiji, Indonesia, the Philippines, Samoa, Sri Lanka and East Timor.
  • Rebuilding sustainable communities: a comparative study of housing and livelihood projects in regions of Sri Lanka and India which were affected by the Asian tsunami of 2004.

Among her other recent projects are studies of Sri Lankan migrant housemaids in the Middle East, working conditions in the Asian garment manufacturing sector, mobile telecommunications and female entrepreneurship in Mumbai, and social networking and cyber-safety in developing countries.


Commissioned Reports

Refereed Working Papers

  • 2008 – Migration and Remittances in Sri Lanka: Development Policy Issues, MAI Working Paper Series

Edited Books

  • 2006 – Building the Links: Remittances, Microfinance and Development, Foundation for Development Cooperation, Brisbane 

Refereed Journal Articles

  •  2012 – (forthcoming) M Mulligan, D Mercer, J Shaw, Y Nadarajah, I Ahmed: Lessons for Long Term Social Recovery Following the 2004 Tsunami: Community, Livelihoods, Tourism and Housing,Environmental Hazards 2012
  • 2010 – R Eversole and J Shaw: Remittance Flows and Their Use in Households: A  Comparative Study of Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines, Asia Pacific Migration Journal, 21, 2, 2010, 175-202
  • 2010 – From Kuwait to Korea: the Diversification of Labour Migration from Sri Lanka, Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, 15, 1, 2010, 59-70 (invited article)
  • 2010 – Making Housemaid Remittances Work for Low-income Families in Sri Lanka, Development in Practice, 20, 1, 2010, 18-30
  • 2007 – “There Is No Work in My Village”: the Employment Decisions of Female Garment Workers in Sri Lanka’s Export Processing Zones, Journal of Developing Societies 23, 1-2, 37-58
  • 2007 – Opportunities for Pro-Poor, Pro-Women Growth in Post-Tsunami Sri Lanka, Development Bulletin 72, March
  • 2007 – M Mulligan and J Shaw (2007): Governance Issues and Problems in Post-Tsunami Reconstruction in Sri Lanka, International Journal of Asian and Pacific Studies, 3, 2, 2007
  • 2004 – Microenterprise Occupation and Poverty Reduction in Microfinance Programs: Evidence from Sri Lanka, World Development 32, 7, 1247-1264
  • 1999 – A World Bank Intervention in the Sri Lankan Welfare Sector: The National Development Trust Fund, World Development 27, 5, 825-838 

Non-Refereed Journal Articles

  •  2010 – I Ahmed and J Shaw: Calamity and Aftermath: the Sri Lanka Experience, Indian Ocean Digest 26, 1, 57-78
  • 2002 – The Impact of Location on Microenterprise Performance: Evidence from Sri Lanka,Development Bulletin 57, March
  • 1997 – The Flagship Has Sprung a Leak: Structural Adjustment in Ghana, Development Bulletin 40, January

Chapters in Books

  •  2010 – M Mulligan and J Shaw ‘Achievements and Weaknesses in Post-Tsunami Reconstruction in Sri Lanka’, in P.P. Karan (Ed): The Indian Ocean Tsunami: A Global Response to Natural Disaster, University of Kentucky Press, US, 237-260
  • 2010 – Push and Pull Factors in Female Labour Migration: Evidence from Sri Lanka’s Garment Workers, in Polakoff, E and L Lindio-McGovern, Eds: Gender and Globalization: Patterns of Women’s Resistance, de Sitter Publications, Canada
  • 2008 – M Clarke and J Shaw : “Genuine Progress in Thailand” in Phillip Lawn and Matthew Clarke, Eds: Genuine Progress in the Asia-Pacific Region, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK
  • 2006 – After The Tsunami: Women’s Work and the Rebuilding of Household Livelihoods In Coastal Sri Lanka, in Charlesworth, Sara and Maureen Fastenau, Eds: Women and Work: Current RMIT University Research, RMIT Publishing, Melbourne
  • 2006 – J Shaw and M Clarke: Best Practice? Eliminating Microfinance Subsidies in Post-Conflict Environments: The Case of Bougainville, in M. Clarke (Ed.): Aid in Conflict Environments, Nova Science, New York 123-127
  • 2006 – Overseas Migration in the Household Economies of Microfinance Clients, in J Shaw, Ed:Building the Links: Remittance, Microfinance and Development, Foundation for Development Cooperation, Brisbane
  • 2005 – Decent Work or Distress Adaptation? Employment Choice and Job Satisfaction in the Sri Lankan Garment Industry, in Charlesworth, Sara and Maureen Fastenau, Eds: Women and Work: Current RMIT University Research, RMIT Publishing, Melbourne 

Conference Presentations

  • 2008 – A Babar, J Shaw and M Vicziany: Mobile Phone Access and Usage Among Female Microentrepreneurs in Bombay City, 17th Asian Studies of Association conference, July 1-3, Melbourne http://arts.monash.edu.au/mai/asaa/aneelababaretal.pdf
  • 2008 – Housemaid Remittances in Rural Sri Lanka: Development Policy Issues, 17th Asian Studies of Association conference, July 1-3, Melbourne http://arts.monash.edu.au/mai/asaa/judithshaw.pdf
  • 2007 – Planning and Politics: Post-tsunami Reconstruction in Southern Sri Lanka, Workshop on Post-Tsunami Reconstruction, University of South Australia, Adelaide, June 18-19 (invited address)
  • 2007 – Financial Services for Migrant Families, Migration and Remittances Conference, Commonwealth Secretariat, Auckland, June 3-4 (invited address)
  • 2006 – Pro-poor, Pro-women Growth in Post-Tsunami Sri Lanka, Overseas Development Network conference on Addressing Poverty: Pro-poor Growth and Financial Inclusion in the Asia Pacific, Canberra, December 5-6
  • 2005 – Planning for Livelihood Reconstruction in Tsunami-affected Regions in Southern Sri Lanka, paper presented at “Post-tsunami Planning: a Window of Opportunity for Planned Development” conference, Sri Lankan Institute of Town Planners,Planning Institute of Australia and Commonwealth Association of Planners, Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka, March 4-5
  • 2005 – Rebuilding Livelihoods in Hambantota, Pan-Asia Forum conference ‘Microfinance in Crisis Situations’, Colombo, June 13-15 (invited address)
  • 2005 – Microfinance in Post-Conflict Environments: the Bougainville Haus Moni Project, paper presented at “Aid in Conflict” conference, RMIT University, Melbourne, February 11-12
  • 2004 – Risky Business in Bougainville: Implementing Microfinance in Post-Conflict Environments (co-authored with Matthew Clarke), “Making Peace Work” Conference, UNU-WIDER, Helsinki, June 4-5
  • 2002 – Microfinance and the Poorest of the Poor, World Vision Australia Microfinance Conference, June
  • 1999 – Location, Poverty and Microenterprise Development: Evidence from Hambantota, 7th Sri Lanka Studies Conference, Canberra, December
  • 1998 – The National Development Trust Fund and the Sri Lankan NGO Sector, Asian Studies Association of Australia biennial conference, University of NSW, September
  • 1997 – The Politics of Welfare in Sri Lanka, Liberalisation in Asia Conference, Deakin University, December

Expert Commentary

  • Transcript of a recent public debate on ABC Radio National: Remittances – flying money. Contributions by Dr Judith Shaw, Monash Asia Instiute and others.