IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/egc/wpaper/1016.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Labor Surplus Revisited

Author

Listed:
  • Gustav Ranis

    () (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

Abstract

Unskilled labor is the abundant resource in many developing countries, especially at an early stage of their development. Yet, even as at given technologies labor markets have not cleared, neo-classical economists have rejected the notion of an institutional or bargaining wage not based on competitive full employment marginal productivity fundamentals. This paper puts to rest some objections to labor surplus theory based on “red herrings” and then addresses the substantive challenges from the micro-econometric branch of neo-classical economics. We contend that the finding of inelastic supply curves of labor is based on a cross-section static analysis of labor supply within agriculture while the labor surplus model deals with tracing the dynamic reallocation of labor from a traditional to a neo-classical organized sector in a dualistic economy. We present data for a number of labor surplus developing countries showing that institutional wages lag behind agricultural productivity increases as countries move towards a “turning point” when inter-sectoral balanced growth has eliminated unskilled labor and the economy has lost its dual characteristic.

Suggested Citation

  • Gustav Ranis, 2012. "Labor Surplus Revisited," Working Papers 1016, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:1016
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp1016.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Manning,Chris, 1998. "Indonesian Labour in Transition," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521594127, March.
    2. Vollrath, Dietrich, 2009. "How important are dual economy effects for aggregate productivity?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 325-334, March.
    3. Ranis, Gustav & Stewart, Frances, 1993. "Rural nonagricultural activities in development : Theory and application," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 75-101, February.
    4. K.V. Ramaswamy, 2008. "Wage Inequality in Indian Manufacturing - Is it Trade, Technology or Labour Regulations?," Labor Economics Working Papers 22361, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Briones, Roehlano & Felipe, Jesus, 2013. "Agriculture and Structural Transformation in Developing Asia: Review and Outlook," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 363, Asian Development Bank.
    2. Zhang, Xiaobo & Rashid, Shahidur & Ahmad, Kaikaus & Ahmed, Akhter, 2014. "Escalation of Real Wages in Bangladesh: Is it the Beginning of Structural Transformation?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 273-285.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    development; labor surplus; neo-classical economics; turning point labor markets;

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:1016. 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: (Louise Danishevsky). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/egyalus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.