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Structural Change, Economic Crisis and International Labour Migration in East Asia

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  • Chris Manning

Abstract

Increased international labour migration was one important dimension of structural change and globalisation in East Asia from the mid 1980s. Large international movements of mainly unskilled contract labour occurred in response to widening wage gaps between more and less developed countries in the region as the former experienced rapid structural change. Labour importing countries increasingly relied on unskilled migrant workers in less preferred jobs, in both export-oriented and non-tradable goods industries. The Asian economic crisis dramatically influenced the context in which international labour mobility had occurred in the pre-crisis period. Important issues included a possible reversal in role of international migration in structural change, both among unskilled contract workers and more skilled migrants, and replacement of migrants by unemployed local workers. The paper argues that the Asian economic crisis did not reverse the fundamental trend toward greater reliance on unskilled migrant workers in agriculture, manufacturing and service industries. Business and professional migration remained significant and even rose in some countries during the crisis. However, several countries were forced to develop a more coherent policy towards migrant workers, in light of the social impact of the crisis. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2002.

Suggested Citation

  • Chris Manning, 2002. "Structural Change, Economic Crisis and International Labour Migration in East Asia," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(3), pages 359-385, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:25:y:2002:i:3:p:359-385
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Heitger, Bernhard & Schrader, Klaus & Stehn, Jürgen, 1999. "Handel, Technologie und Beschäftigung," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 2277, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    2. Buch, Claudia M. & Piazolo, Daniel, 2001. "Capital and trade flows in Europe and the impact of enlargement," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 183-214, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicola Jones & Hannah Marsden, 2010. "Assessing the Impacts of and Response to the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis through a Child Rights Lens," Working papers 1002, UNICEF,Division of Policy and Strategy.
    2. Mustafizur Rahman & Khondaker Golam Moazzem & Syed Saifuddin Hossain, 2009. "Impact of the Global Economic Crisis on the Employment and Labour Market of Bangladesh A Preliminary Assessment," Labor Economics Working Papers 22303, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    3. Pradip Bhatnagar, 2004. "Liberalising the Movement of Natural Persons: A Lost Decade?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 459-472, March.
    4. Michele Tuccio, 2017. "Determinants of Intra-ASEAN Migration," Asian Development Review, MIT Press, vol. 34(1), pages 144-166, March.
    5. Robert E. B. Lucas, 2005. "Migration internationale vers les pays à haut revenu : quelles conséquences pour le développement économique des pays d'origine ?," Revue d’économie du développement, De Boeck Université, vol. 13(4), pages 123-171.

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