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Surplus labour and Lewis turning points in China

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  • Xiaobing Wang
  • Nick Weaver

Abstract

It has been widely recognised that China has had a large pool of surplus labour. However, despite its significant implications for wage levels and the Chinese economy, the current debates yield conflicting results as to whether a Lewis turning point has been reached. This paper clarifies a theoretical issue about the mechanisms of surplus labour absorption, subsequently indentifies two Lewis turning points and examines the factors that affect the reaching of these two points. It then applies the framework to China to study the labour absorption process and examines some of the likely implications of the removal of the Hukou system in terms of welfare and economic performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Xiaobing Wang & Nick Weaver, 2013. "Surplus labour and Lewis turning points in China," Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(1), pages 1-12, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jocebs:v:11:y:2013:i:1:p:1-12
    DOI: 10.1080/14765284.2012.755303
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Zhang, Xiaobo & Yang, Jin & Wang, Shenglin, 2011. "China has reached the Lewis turning point," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 542-554.
    2. 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.
    3. Knight, John & Deng, Quheng & Li, Shi, 2011. "The puzzle of migrant labour shortage and rural labour surplus in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 585-600.
    4. Golley, Jane & Meng, Xin, 2011. "Has China run out of surplus labour?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 555-572.
    5. Fang Cai & Meiyan Wang, 2008. "A Counterfactual Analysis on Unlimited Surplus Labor in Rural China," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 16(1), pages 51-65, January.
    6. CAI, Fang & DU, Yang, 2011. "Wage increases, wage convergence, and the Lewis turning point in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 601-610.
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    Cited by:

    1. Edward Whitfield, 2016. "China and the Great Doubling: Racing to the Top or Bottom of Global Labour Standards?," Global Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 7(1), pages 37-45, February.
    2. Anne Villamil & Xiaobing Wang & Yuxiang Zou, 2020. "Growth and development with dual labor markets," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 88(6), pages 801-826, December.
    3. Xiaobing Wang & Nick Weaver, 2013. "Surplus Labour and Urbanization in China," Eurasian Economic Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 3(1), pages 84-97, June.
    4. Gordon Menzies, 2018. "A Synthesis of the Lewis Development Model and Neoclassical Trade Models," Working Paper Series 46, Economics Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney.

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