Evelyn S. Devadason is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya. Her research focuses on international trade and regional integration. Her research work has seen print in international journals such as World Development, Journal of International Development, Pacific Review, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Journal of Contemporary China, Asian Economic Journal, Singapore Economic Review, Global Economic Review and Agricultural Economics. She has been engaged in a number of international research projects, including the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions-Asian and Pacific Regional Organization (Singapore), Asian Development Bank Institute (Japan), Asian Development Bank (Manila), World Bank (Washington DC), Economic Research Institute of Asia and ASEAN-United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Jakarta) and Food Industry Asia (Singapore).

Summary of Project:

Industrialization, Trade and Labour Revisited: Industry-Level Evidence from Malaysia

The Malaysian labour market, which is highly integrated through capital and labour flows, is riddled with problems (large presence of migrant workers; low labour absorption; wage stagnation; low quality of labour). These issues are not fully understood, and therefore no comprehensive policy has been outlined. The discussion of the labour structure in manufacturing is not complete without understanding the extent to which industrial policies, trade orientation and trade agreements have influenced the former. The study therefore takes on a mixed-method approach to analyze the labour market through the export-industrialization phase in Malaysia to answer the following research questions: How have industrial/ trade policies affected the patterns of production and employment in the manufacturing sector? How have foreign labour policy instruments and trade influenced labour demand? To what extent can the labour market benefit from the inclusion of labour provisions in trade agreements? The quantitative involves empirical estimations of labour and trade policy effects on the structure of labour demand using national industrial survey data. The qualitative analysis consolidates information on the state of labour rights and standards, enforcement and changes in laws, regulations, institutions and practice and labour provisions in trade agreements through interviews with government agencies, trade unions, trade associations and non-governmental organizations.