In the case of Latin America, an absence of wage data in such an important source as E.C.L.A.’s annual Surveys must be set against a fair number of impressionistic references to the behaviour of the wage level — especially in South America — in the same and other sources. In contrast, the annual Surveys of the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (E.C.A.F.E.) do contain a few data about wages in their statistical sections —indices of money wages for one or two sectors in various countries1 — but virtually no reference to the significance of wage trends can be found in their texts. Even more than in Latin America, wage movements in Far Eastern developing countries would appear to be a relatively unimportant variable in shaping the development of the economy. In this region, not only are they not considered as in any sense a ‘prime mover’, but neither are they accorded a significant secondary role in the manner in which changes in South American wage levels are recognised as giving further twists to inflationary spirals.


Real Wage Food Price Wage Level Unskilled Labour Wage Earner 
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  1. 1.
    Observers lament the lack of wage data in this, as in other developing regions, pointing out that the ‘lack of even fairly rudimentary wage statistics may be considered alarming in the sense that it reveals the non-existence in many countries of the indispensable factual basis for national policy-making in an important area of social and economic concern’. (I.L.O., General Report to the Asian Advisory Committee, 13th Session, Singapore, Nov—Dec 1966, p. 60.)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    It should be pointed out that in some Far Eastern countries, manufacturing wage earners may comprise only a very small proportion of total wage earners, and that, therefore, trends in manufacturing wages may not reflect very closely trends in the general wage level. In Ceylon, for instance, wage earners on plantations comprise about half of the total number of wage and salary earners. [K. C. Doctor and H. Gallis, ‘Modern Sector Employment in Asian Countries: Some Empirical Estimates’, International Labour Review (Dec 1964) 562.]Google Scholar
  3. 1.
    ‘So long as any surplus at all exists, wage levels are not influenced by differences in the excess supply of labor, but only by institutions.’ [F. C. Shorter, ‘The Application of Development Hypotheses in Middle Eastern Studies’, Economic Development and Cultural Change (Apr 1966) 351.]Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    It certainly was so in the early 1950s: ‘the great majority of Asian workers … have still to be covered by any form of wage regulations…. For the majority of workers, wages continue to be fixed by individual agreements.’[I.L.O., Problems of Wage Policy in Asian Countries, Studies and Reports, New Series No. 43 (Geneva 1954) 75.]Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The International Institute for Labour Studies 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony D. Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.International Institute for Labour StudiesGenevaSwitzerland

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