In the newly industrializing economies (NIEs) of Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan (China), the entire working population has benefited from labor market institutions. The East Asian NIEs attained and maintained generally full employment, improved their job mixes, raised real earnings, and lowered their rates of poverty.
This article reaches two principal conclusions. First, labor market conditions continued to improve in all four economies in the 1980s at rates remarkably similar to their rates of aggregate economic growth. Second, labor market repression was not a major factor in the growth experiences of these economies in the 1980s. It thus appears that labor market repression is neither necessary nor desirable for outward-oriented economic development.