Globalisation and labour immiserisation in Australia
AbstractThe dissolving trade barriers, financial deregulation, hyper-mobility of capital and the rapid diffusion of new information technologies have ushered the Australian economy into the borderless world. The orthodoxy that states that centralised wage-fixing in Australia has impeded wage flexibility and resulted in high unemployment is unconvincing. Partly, this is because in the 1980s Australian labour market institutions have been decentralised and decollectivised in response to pressures from the borderless world. The insights garnered from cross-sectional comparative statics that, first, skill-biased Schumpeterian technological change was the major cause of labour immiserisation and, second, adverse Stolper-Samuelson trade played an insignificant effect need to be reviewed. Parsimonious dynamic time-series models of trade and technology have been formulated using general-to-specific methods after taking account of stochastic trends through unit root and cointegration tests. Granger causality and non-nested tests applied to these models support the contention that both trade and technology contributed to increasing wage disparity during the borderless era. Moreover the supply side factors such as female participation, immigration and institutional factors such as deunionisation have also increased wage disparity. The deregulation of the Australian labour market by the Workplace Relations Act, whilst an inevitable response to achieve competitiveness in the borderless world market, would exacerbate wage inequality. Policies aimed at skill accumulation on the one hand, and social welfare policies involving negative income taxes on the other may have to be implemented to mitigate the deleterious social effects of rising wage inequality.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Journal of Economic Studies.
Volume (Year): 26 (1999)
Issue (Month): 2 (January)
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