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Primary Migration of the Taiwanese Young Labor Force in the Context of Economic Restructuring and Globalization: An Explanation Based on the 1990 Census

Publication Abstract

Liaw, Kao-Lee, and J.P. Lin. 2001. "Primary Migration of the Taiwanese Young Labor Force in the Context of Economic Restructuring and Globalization: An Explanation Based on the 1990 Census." Journal of Population Studies (Jinkogaku kenkyu), 29: 7-27.

The purpose of this paper is to explain the 1985-90 interprefectural migration behaviors of the young (aged 25-29 in 1990) natives (i.e. those whose prefecture of residence in 1985 was identical to their native domicile) in the Taiwanese labor force, by applying a two-level nested logit model to a multidimensional tabulation of the full records of the 1990 Population Census. The major findings are as follows. Consistent with the human capital investment theory, the migration of the young natives responded sensitively and selectively to the new spatial pattern of economic opportunities created by process of economic restructuring and globalization in the 1980s. The selectivity was related not only to the differences in the human capital of the natives but also to the norms of the patriarchal ideology of the Taiwanese society. As a "global city", Taipei City was particularly attractive to the best-educated, whereas its suburban prefecture was by far the strongest magnet for the primary migrants from all parts of Taiwan and attracted many less-educated workers who were obliged to reside in modest housing areas and to tolerate tortuous commuting to the jobs in the central city. Shinchu City benefited from its newly established Science Park and became particularly attractive to the primary migrants with college and university education, whereas Kaohsiung City, the core of the second largest metropolis, was burdened with stagnant and declining heavy-chemical industries and performed poorly in attracting the primary migrants of all levels of education. Although the less educated were less prone to migrate than the better educated, the low-skilled workers remained rather sensitive to labor market forces and helped make the unemployment rates of all prefectures rather insensitive to the spatial variation in economic opportunities and was strongly enhanced by changes in marital status, whereas the migration of breadwinners was highly responsive to the push and pull of labor market forces.

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