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The Oxford Companion to the Economics of China$
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Shenggen Fan, Ravi Kanbur, Shang-Jin Wei, and Xiaobo Zhang

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199678204

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199678204.001.0001

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The Lewis turning point

The Lewis turning point

Is there a labour shortage in China?

(p.388) 63 The Lewis turning point
The Oxford Companion to the Economics of China

Yang Yao

Oxford University Press

One of the driving forces behind China’s phenomenal growth has been rural–urban migration. A pressing issue now is whether China has passed the Lewis turning point, that is, the point beyond which surplus labour is depleted and the industrial labour supply is no longer indefinite. It suggests that more serious studies are needed to determine whether there is still a labour surplus in rural China. A first step is to come up with a new concept of surplus labour that is consistent with rising real wages as well as the unlimited supply of labour. Then the study must be extended from the aggregate level to the household level.

Keywords:   labour supply, labour market, rural–urban migration, labour surplus, real wages

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