Chronicle of a Decline Foretold: Has China Reached the Lewis Turning Point?
AbstractChina is on the eve of a demographic shift that will have profound consequences on its economic and social landscape. Within a few years the working age population will reach a historical peak, and then begin a precipitous decline. This fact, along with anecdotes of rapidly rising migrant wages and episodic labor shortages, has raised questions about whether China is poised to cross the Lewis Turning Point, a point at which it would move from a vast supply of low-cost workers to a labor shortage economy. Crossing this threshold will have far-reaching implications for both China and the rest of the world. This paper empirically assesses when the transition to a labor shortage economy is likely to occur. Our central result is that on current trends, the Lewis Turning Point will emerge between 2020 and 2025. Alternative scenarios-with higher fertility, greater labor participation rates, financial reform or higher productivity-may peripherally delay or accelerate the onset of the turning point, but demographics will be the dominant force driving the depletion of surplus labor.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 13/26.
Date of creation: 29 Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC USA
Phone: (202) 623-7000
Fax: (202) 623-4661
Web page: http://www.imf.org/external/pubind.htm
More information through EDIRC
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statistics
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jim Beardow) or (Hassan Zaidi).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.