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Foreign Labor And Economic Growth Policy Options For Singapore



    () (Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, 469C Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259772, Singapore)


    () (Department of Economics, National University of Singapore, 10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260, Singapore;
    Department of Economics, University of Toronto, 150 St George St, Toronto, ON M5S 3G7, Canada)


Prior to the Asian economic crisis in 1997, Singapore's official projected medium-term GDP growth target was set at 7% per annum. Since then, the targeted growth rate has been reduced to 5%. This paper examines the implications of the 5% growth target on the labor requirements of the Singapore economy. It is shown that the projected resident labor force will not be able to keep pace with the increased labor demand and the share of foreigners in the labor force will increase significantly even under the most favorable scenario. Some implications of the increased dependence on foreign labor in Singapore are discussed. With permanent immigration fixed at the current level, various policy options and their effects on the demand for foreign labor are considered. These include improving labor productivity, raising the total fertility rate, increasing labor force participation of older workers and lowering the targeted rate of economic growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Weng-Tat Hui & Aamir Rafique Hashmi, 2007. "Foreign Labor And Economic Growth Policy Options For Singapore," The Singapore Economic Review (SER), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 52(01), pages 53-72.
  • Handle: RePEc:wsi:serxxx:v:52:y:2007:i:01:n:s0217590807002567
    DOI: 10.1142/S0217590807002567

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jean-Marie Grether & Jaime de Melo & Tobias Müller, 2015. "The Political Economy of International Migration in a Ricardo–Viner Model," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Developing Countries in the World Economy, chapter 17, pages 411-437 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    2. Card, David, 2001. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 22-64, January.
    3. Johansen, Soren, 1995. "Likelihood-Based Inference in Cointegrated Vector Autoregressive Models," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198774501.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ducanes, Geoffrey. & Abella, Manolo I., 2008. "Labour shortage responses in Japan, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Malaysia : a review and evaluation," ILO Working Papers 994112283402676, International Labour Organization.
    2. Ahmad Ahsan & Manolo Abella & Andrew Beath & Yukon Huang & Manjula Luthria & Trang Van Nguyen, 2014. "International Migration and Development in East Asia and the Pacific," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 20437, March.

    More about this item


    Singapore labor market; foreign labor; growth;


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