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Rural wages in Asia

Research reports

Written by Steve Wiggins, Sharada Keats

Research reports

​Reports indicate that rural wages in parts of Asia, in countries such as Bangladesh, China and India, have been rising since the mid-2000s, and probably at a faster rate than before. The aim of this study is to check how rural wages are changing for other countries in (East, South and Southeast) Asia; to look at potential causes; and to consider the implications.

The following questions are posed:

·        What trends can be seen in rural wages in Asia during the 2000s?

·        How much is there a common pattern across the region?

·        What factors are driving the increases seen?

·        Do they stem from increased agricultural production and productivity, from changing demography, or from urbanisation and industrialisation?

·        To what extent do they reflect public policy such as minimum wages and public employment schemes?

·        What may be expected in terms of trends in rural wages over the next five to ten years?

·        If rural wages are rising, then what are the implications for rural development and poverty, for food prices and food security and for economic growth, both in Asia and in other parts of the developing world?

Steve Wiggins and Sharada Keats