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Economic Transition and Labour Market Dynamics in China: An Interpretative Survey of the ‘Turning Point’ Debate

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  • Prema-chandra Athukorala
  • Zheng Wei

Abstract

Has the Chinese economy approached the ‘Lewisian turning point’ that marks the ending of the initial phase of industrial transformation fueled by surplus labour? In this paper we undertake an interpretative survey of the literature on this issue, in the context of China’s labour market conditions prior to the reforms and structural change of the past three decades. The available evidence is mixed, and our assessment makes a strong case for probing institutional constraints to labour mobility from an economy-wide perspective, going beyond the confines of the rural economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Prema-chandra Athukorala & Zheng Wei, 2015. "Economic Transition and Labour Market Dynamics in China: An Interpretative Survey of the ‘Turning Point’ Debate," Departmental Working Papers 2015-06, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:pas:papers:2015-06
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Prema-chandra Athukorala, 2017. "China's evolving role in global production networks: implications for Trump's trade war," Departmental Working Papers 2017-08, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    China; Lewis model; Surplus labour; economic transition;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General

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