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  • Introduction to Special Collection Six on the Labour Market, Migration and Ageing*
  • Bruce Chapman, Kiatanantha Lounkaew, and John Piggott

This Special Collection is based on selected papers from the Fourth Australian National University (ANU) and Dhurakij Pundit University (DPU) conference, held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 26–27 February, 2015. The theme of the conference was “The Labour Market, Migration and Ageing.” The conference extended the academic partnership of the two institutions, which began in 2007, with eight years of cooperation, resulting now in four conferences and many important academic publications. As well as demography and the labour market, the ANU-DPU affiliation has promoted research and discourse in many areas, including higher education financing, education and labour market policy, and income contingent loans.

A critical part of the ANU-DPU research and outreach program has involved several internationally renowned scholars accepting invitations to be keynote speakers at the conferences. They include: Lawrence Summer from Harvard University (2008); Eric Hanushek from Stanford University (2011); Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel Laureate) from Columbia University (2013); David Card from the University of California, Berkeley (2015); and John Piggott from the University of New South Wales (2015). Participants from more than 20 countries have been involved in the conferences. We have also been fortunate to secure collaboration and financial assistance from outstanding international partners, such as the World Bank, the Australian Research Council, AusAid, and the International Economic Association (IEA). Details of these conferences are now considered.

The First ANU-DPU conference, “Financing Higher Education and Economic Development in East Asia,” took place in August 2008. Several international experts in the area of student loans (Professors Nicholas Barr, Bruce Chapman and Adrian Ziderman) contributed to the event. The conference focused on and addressed important issues pertinent to access to higher education. Different financing models and the roles of institutional arrangement in the East Asian region and selected countries outside of the region were explored. The conference also addressed the value of higher education in economic development, with proceedings being published in Armstrong and Chapman (eds.) (2011).

The Second ANU-DPU conference, “Economics of Education Policy,” was held in April 2011 and drew together international experts in policy related to the economics of education. Topics covered related to the issues of equity, access and education financing of both basic as well as tertiary education. Selected papers from this conference were published as a special issue of the Economics of Education Review (Chapman and Lounkaew (eds), 2013).

The Third ANU-DPU conference, “Education and the Labour Market: Policy and Beyond,” was the continuation of the previous two conferences in terms of contribution to the understanding of the nexus between education and economic development, with particular focus on its role in the labour market. The event was held jointly with the workshop on “Income Contingent Loan” led by Professor Joseph Stilitz, the then president of the IEA. Selected papers from this workshop were published in an IEA Conference volume (Chapman, Higgins and Stiglitz (eds.), 2014).

The Fourth ANU-DPU conference, “The Labour Market, Migration and Ageing,” was held in Bangkok in February 2015. It was hosted jointly with the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) at the University of NSW, and the Thai Ministry of Labour. The theme was motivated by the global trend of ageing society and changing labour market structure. International experts in labour economics, migration and ageing participated and presented recent research findings.

This year we have been very privileged to acquire permission from Associate Professor William Haller, the Editor of Population Review, to use the journal as the publication outlet for selected papers from the Fourth ANU-DPU conference. The collection comprises five papers, each of which contributes to the understanding of the issues in a distinctive way. Before summarizing briefly the contribution of each of the papers, we first set the scene through broad consideration of the issue of population ageing, understood in the context of migration and the labour market with specific reference to Asia.

Population ageing can be seen as one of the most important social challenges of the 21st century, ranking with climate change as a major policy frontier. It is a global phenomenon, happening almost everywhere...


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