The Launch Event of the Center for New Structural Economics at Peking University and Second International Conference on New Structural Economics –
Rising Wages in Developing Countries: Implications for Economic Transformation
Hosted by: New Structural Economics Center, Peking University
Zhifuxuan Classroom, National School of Development, Peking University
December 14-15, 2015
Real wages in China have been rising since the mid-2000s. This trend has sparked heated debates on whether this ‘world’s factory’ has approached a critical threshold beyond which the era of surplus labor is over (known as ‘the Lewis turning point’). Yet the poor quality of China’s labor statistics leaves the debate wide open. Similar debates have recently been reignited, as other parts of Asian countries such as Bangladesh and India witness rising rural wages at a faster rate than before. This brings to the fore the questions of (a) whether rising wages in China and other parts of developing countries would herald a new wave of relocating manufacturing jobs to less prosperous low-wage developing countries; and (b) if so, how these catching-up low-income countries can seize this opportunity to boost their manufacturing industries in an effort to achieve economic transformation.
The quest for answering the above questions is more urgent than ever before. The immense scale of China’s manufacturing is unprecedented. As China is losing its competitiveness in labor-intensive industries, it is estimated that about 85 million factory jobs could leave China in the coming years. China’s neighboring countries in Asia with low wages might be the first to benefit from this potentially accelerating trend. A further prospect is that companies might be moving to Africa in search of lower wages. Indeed, the first pioneer wave of relocated Chinese plants can be seen in Ethiopia, such as Huajian shoe factory. Optimists maintain that the unparalleled scale of relocated Chinese manufacturing could transform the African continent and other parts of the developing world, as a surging youth population is entering the labor market.
Yet economic transformation in low-wage developing countries will not come into fruition, unless right conditions are created. Relocating manufacturing jobs from China to other developing countries will not happen, unless roads, power supplies and ports are adequate. Relocation to low-wage developing countries is unlikely to happen, unless there is political stability. Without these and other facilitating factors, low-wage developing countries would lose the opportunity of industrial upgrading and economic transformation. Hence, realizing this great potential entails effective policy levers to put right conditions in place.
In order to explore the implications of rising wages for economic transformation in developing countries, the International Conference on New Structural Economics at Peking University welcomes submissions on the following topics:
- What trends can be seen in wages in developing countries since the new millennium? How much is there a common pattern across different regions?
- What factors are driving the increases in wages seen? Above all, do they stem from increased production and productivity, from changing demography, or from urbanization and industrialization? To what extent do they reflect public policy such as minimum wages and public employment schemes? What may be expected in terms of trends in wages in developing countries over the next five to ten years?
- If wages in some developing countries such as China and India are rising, then is it likely that some plants in these countries will relocate to low-income countries in Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and other parts of the developing world? What are the implications for industrial upgrading, structural change, and economic transformation in catching-up processes of developing countries? What kinds of policy recommendations can be offered to help low-wage developing countries to seize this opportunity in order to achieve economic transformation?
Online Registration: http://www.huodongshu.com/event/10024766/?is_easy=2
Second International Conference on New Structural Economics
National School of Development, Peking University
Working Language: English
8:30-9:00 The Launch Event of the Center for New Structural Economics at Peking University
Moderator Jiajun Xu, Executive Deputy Director of the Center for NSE
Leader of Peking University (TBD)
Yang Yao, Dean of National School of Development, Peking University
Justin Yifu Lin, Director for the Center for NSE; Honorary Dean, National School of Development, Peking Universtiy
9:00-9:15 Group photo
9:15-11:00 Keynote Speeches
Chair Justin Yifu Lin, Director for the Center for NSE; Honorary Dean, National School of Development, Peking Universtiy
Kaivan Munshi, Frank Ramsey Professor of Economics, University of Cambridge, Co-editor of Journal of Development
The Community Origins of Industrial Entrepreneurship
Joseph P. Kaboski, David F. and Erin M. Seng Foundation Professor of Economics, Department of Economics at the
University of Notre Dame
Skill-Biased Structural Change
Tony Venables, BP Professor of Economics, University of Oxford, Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich
Breaking into tradables; urban function and urban form in a developing city （ through video ）
11:00-11:15 Coffee break
11:15-12:45 Panel 1
Chair Joseph P. Kaboski, David F. and Erin M. Seng Foundation Professor of Economics, Department of Economics at the
University of Notre Dame
Shahidur Rashid, Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute
Co-authors: Xiaobo Zhang, Peking University
Changing Wage Dynamics in Developing Countries: The Theory, Evidence, and Implications
Keun Lee, Director, Institute of Economic Research, Seoul National University; Co-Editor of Research Policy
Co-authors: Sanika Sulochani Ramanayake, Inha University & Seoul National University
The Adding-up problem & the Wage-productivity Gap in exports of developing countries facing the middle-income trap
Xiaobo Zhang, Chair Professor of Economics, National School of Development, Peking Universtiy
Impact of rising wages on innovations in China
14:00-16:00 Panel 2
Chair Kaivan Munshi, Frank Ramsey Professor of Economics, University of Cambridge, Co-editor of Journal of Development
Presenters Tony Fang, Stephen Jarislowsky Chair, Memorial University, Monash University, University of Toronto, and IZA
Co-authors: Carl Lin, Beijing Normal University and IZA