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Demand, supply and adjustments in the Australian labour market

Lewis, Philip E.T. (1992) Demand, supply and adjustments in the Australian labour market. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This thesis examines many different aspects of demand, supply and adjustment in the Australian labour market. First, the aggregate labour market is considered. A general method of modelling the adjustment of real wages and employment which allows the underlying demand and supply schedules to be identified is developed. This is then applied to Australian data in order to obtain estimates of the relevant demand and supply elasticities and the adjustment parameters. The model is also applied to a particularly important policy issue -namely the impacts of the Accord on wages and employment. With respect to aggregate demand for labour the extent of substitution between workers of different sex and age is also examined.

Two particularly important institutions in the Australian labour market, namely trade unions and the arrangement known as the Accord, are examined in the thesis. A method of measuring union activity is presented together with a model explaining union membership. The effect of the Accord on wages, employment, long term unemployment and trade union membership receive particular attention.

Two quite different labour markets are looked at in detail - the rural labour market and the market for professional engineers. The rural labour market is characterised by a higher proportion of less educated workers than the economy as a whole but with a greater proportion of self employed. Many workers, particularly in the farm sector, have poorly paid insecure employment and are not highly organised. In contrast, engineers are highly educated, highly organised and well paid.

It would be easy to assume that because the topics featured in this thesis are so disparate that they would require quite different analytical tools to explain behaviour. However, the central aim of this thesis is to demonstrate that in fact a consistent approach, modified where necessary to take into account some particular aspects of each case, can explain all of the examples chosen.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Economics and Commerce
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Norris, Keith
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