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Labor migration and economic growth in east and southeast Asia


  • Walmsley, Terrie
  • Aguiar, Angel
  • Ahmed, S. Amer


East and Southeast Asia face major demographic changes over the next few decades as many countries'labor forces will start to decline, while others will experience higher labor force growth as populations and participation rates increase. A well-managed labor migration strategy presents itself as a mechanism for ameliorating the impending labor shortages in some East-Asia Pacific countries, while providing an opportunity for other countries with excess labor to provide migrant workers that will contribute to the development of the home country through greater remittance flows. Although migration would be unable to offset the economic impacts of the declining labor forces in the countries with shrinking populations, a more flexible migration policy, allowing migrants to respond to the major demographic changes occurring in Asia over the next 50 years, would be beneficial to most economies in the region in terms of real incomes and real gross domestic product over the 2007-2050 period. Such a policy could deeply affect the net migration position of a country. Countries that were net recipients under current migration policies might become net senders under the more liberal policy regime.

Suggested Citation

  • Walmsley, Terrie & Aguiar, Angel & Ahmed, S. Amer, 2013. "Labor migration and economic growth in east and southeast Asia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6643, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6643

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Caglar Ozden & Christopher R. Parsons & Maurice Schiff & Terrie L. Walmsley, 2011. "Where on Earth is Everybody? The Evolution of Global Bilateral Migration 1960-2000," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 25(1), pages 12-56, May.
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    9. Takao KOMINE & Shigesaburo KABE, 2009. "Long-term Forecast of the Demographic Transition in Japan and Asia," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 4(1), pages 19-38.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ahmed, S. Amer & Cruz, Marcio & Go, Delfin S. & Maliszewska, Maryla & Osorio-Rodarte, Israel, 2014. "How significant is Africa's demographic dividend for its future growth and poverty reduction ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7134, The World Bank.
    2. Ahmed, S. Amer & Go,Delfin Sia & Willenbockel,Dirk Andreas, 2016. "Global migration revisited : short-term pains, long-term gains, and the potential of south-south migration," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7628, The World Bank.

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    Population Policies; Labor Markets; Banks&Banking Reform; Labor Policies; Economic Growth;

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