The puzzle of migrant labour shortage and rural labour surplus in China
The paper examines the contentious issue of the extent of surplus labour that remains in China. China was an extreme example of a surplus labour economy, but the rapid economic growth during the period of economic reform requires a reassessment of whether the second stage of the Lewis model has been reached or is imminent. The literature is inconclusive. On the one hand, there are reports of migrant labour scarcity and rising migrant wages; on the other hand, estimates suggest that a considerable pool of relatively unskilled labour is still available in the rural sector. Yet the answer has far-reaching developmental and distributional implications. After reviewing the literature, the paper uses the 2002 and 2007 national household surveys of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences to analyse and explain migrant wage behaviour, to predict the determinants of migration, and to examine the size and nature of the pool of potential rural–urban migrants. An attempt is also made to project the rural and urban labour force and migration forward to 2020, on the basis of the 2005 1% Population Survey. The paper concludes that for institutional reasons both phenomena are likely to coexist at present and for some time in the future.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Loren Brandt & Carsten A. Holz, 2006.
"Spatial Price Differences in China: Estimates and Implications,"
Economic Development and Cultural Change,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 55, pages 43-86.
- Brandt, Loren & Holz, Carsten A, 2006. "Spatial Price Differences in China: Estimates and Implications," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(1), pages 43-86, October.
- Loren Brandt & Carsten Holz, 2005. "Spatial Price Differences in China: Estimates and Implications," Microeconomics 0512001, EconWPA.
- Loren BRANDT & Carsten A HOLZ, 2005. "Spatial Price Differences in China: Estimates and Implications," Development and Comp Systems 0504010, EconWPA.
- Knight, John & Gunatilaka, Ramani, 2010.
"Great Expectations? The Subjective Well-being of Rural-Urban Migrants in China,"
Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 113-124, January.
- John Knight & Ramani Gunatilaka, 2007. "Great Expectations? The Subjective Well-Being of Rural-Urban Migrants in China," Economics Series Working Papers 322, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Leng Lee & Xin Meng, 2010. "Why Donâ€™t More Chinese Migrate from the Countryside? Institutional Constraints and the Migration Decision," Chapters, in: The Great Migration, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
- Knight, John & Song, Lina, 1999. "The Rural-Urban Divide: Economic Disparities and Interactions in China," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198293309, December.
- Fung Kwan, 2009. "Agricultural labour and the incidence of surplus labour: experience from China during reform," Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(3), pages 341-361.
- Nazrul Islam & Kazuhiko Yokota, 2008. "Lewis Growth Model and China's Industrialization ," Asian Economic Journal, East Asian Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 359-396, December.
- Yang Du & Weiguang Pan, 2009. "Minimum Wage Regulation in China and Its Applications to Migrant Workers in the Urban Labor Market," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 17(2), pages 79-93.
- Guifu Chen & Shigeyuki Hamori, 2009. "Solution to the Dilemma of the Migrant Labor Shortage and the Rural Labor Surplus in China," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 17(4), pages 53-71.
- John Knight & Linda Yueh, 2009. "Segmentation or competition in China's urban labour market?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(1), pages 79-94, January.
- Knight, John & Song, Lina, 1995.
"Towards a Labour Market in China,"
Oxford Review of Economic Policy,
Oxford University Press, vol. 11(4), pages 97-117, Winter.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:22:y:2011:i:4:p:585-600. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.