Migration, Development and Employment in East and Southeast Asia: Patterns and Implications

Ernesto M. Pernia


The paper first reviews some of the major studies on internal migration in East and Southeast Asian countries, highlighting its relationship to development, particularly to the role of policies in the evolution of migration patterns. The central theme that emerges is that the pattern and effects of migration in these countries have been conditioned not simply by the rate of economic growth but by the character of growth as well as by the types of policies pursued. The paper also focuses on intersectoral labor migration in the context of structural transition and employment. The character of economic growth and of policies also influences the effects of migration in terms of the rate of departure of labour migrants from agriculture, their entry into industry relative to the service sector, as well as their consequent absorption in those sectors. Finally, important implications for policy and research are outlined in the conclusion.

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