East Asian Labour Market Regimes in the Context of Global Economic Crisis: Do the Advanced Nations Offer Trajectory Paths for Those Following?

I presented this paper at the XIIIth Annual International Conference of DPSR on Saturday successfully enough. Here is the abstract:

The global economic crisis caused by an improperly regulated financial sector giving way to excessive risk-taking behaviour has led to a worldwide crisis of austerity and of lack of jobs. The situation in East Asia is somewhat different from that in the western world in that finance bubbles had already been burst in the 1997 crisis and lessons learned from that. Nevertheless, developing East Asia is still dependent on western markets as destinations for exports as domestic markets remain insufficiently developed to absorb production of goods and services. In this situation, states such as Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia look to examples from elsewhere in the region concerning the means of transforming themselves from being part of the factory age, which limits growth at the upward end of the middle income range, into the higher income range of economies. Examples include the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and even to some extent Malaysia. This raises the question of the extent to which the examples of those other states, in which labour market management has passed further along a familiar trajectory, offer practical examples that can be applied in the developing states that follow behind them. Issues of relevance in this case include wage and compensation issues, management of unions and the freedom of speech, association and collective bargaining, as well as the interaction between the education system and the labour market. This paper examines the cases of economically advanced East Asian states in terms of labour market development with a view to considering how those examples might be applied in those countries which now follow.

Keywords: labour markets, economic crisis, East Asia, Thailand, Korea


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