Income and Growth in Malaysia

by James P. Smith


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This report examines how economic development has affected the life-cycle wage and employment histories of various cohorts of Malaysian male workers. The report contains four sections. Section I briefly sketches the structure of the Malaysian economy and highlights the main changes that have occurred since World War II. Section II describes the Malaysian Family Life Survey, the data file on which this research is based. These data are unique in providing the first detailed portrait of career and cohort evolutions of wages and employment for a less developed country that is undergoing substantial economic growth. Because there is so little hard evidence on labor markets in less developed countries, Sec. III presents a descriptive summary of the principal characteristics of the Malaysian labor market. Finally, Sec. IV presents a statistical analysis of individual wages, with an emphasis on trying to sort out determinants of life-cycle and across-cohort wage growth.

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