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Economic Growth and Foreign Workers in ASEAN and Singapore


  • Shandre Mugan Thangavelu

    () (Department of Economics, National University of Singapore)


This paper studies the trends of foreign immigrants in Asia and their effect on the growth of the Singapore economy. The paper also discusses the key labor market trends and the rationale for foreign workers in a small open economy like Singapore. Further, the paper highlights key simulations of the impact of foreign immigrants on output growth and wage gap for the Singapore economy by using Thangavelu's (2011) dynamic general equilibrium model. The study accounts for the flow of skilled and unskilled foreign workers on (a) steady-state growth; (b) the wage gap between the skilled and unskilled workers; and (c) innovation capabilities of the domestic economy. Further, the model also accounts for the contribution of immigrants on the welfare of the domestic economy through the immigration surplus that will accrue to the domestic economy. © 2012 The Earth Institute at Columbia University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Shandre Mugan Thangavelu, 2012. "Economic Growth and Foreign Workers in ASEAN and Singapore," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 11(3), pages 114-136, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:asiaec:v:11:y:2012:i:3:p:114-136

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    More about this item


    economic growth; foreign workers; immigration; Asia; Singapore;

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration


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