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Urbanisation and Unemployment

  • Guy Standing
Part of the ILO Studies book series

Abstract

Historically, urban population and employment growth in Jamaica was restricted by the dominant plantation mode of production. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the colonial government discouraged the establishment and expansion of towns, since any drift to urban areas depleted the supply of labour to the estates. Thus one eighteenth century commission set the tone when it allowed several ports to be established “provided the said Act will not encourage the Inhabitants to reside in Towns, and there set up Manufactures for the Supply of their own Necessities… “[1] But in the nineteenth century the drift to urban areas gathered momentum after Emancipation, despite attempts to control it. This reflected rural stagnation and the low wages and poor working conditions on the estates. Because wages were low and uncertain even landless labourers rejected estate employment and moved to the towns. [2] As one observer commented, in describing rural-urban migration in the mid-nineteenth century, “I do not doubt that many proprietors really suffer from the partiality of young men to towns; but at the same time I do not doubt that many of these young men prefer, and very naturally prefer, the greater certainty of regular employment that town business offers”. [3]

Keywords

Labour Force Wage Rate Labour Force Participation Migrant Woman Labour Force Survey 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Quoted in F.W. Pitman: The Development of the British West Indies, 1700–1763 (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1971), p. 20.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    W. Marshall: “Notes on peasant development in the West Indies”, Social and Economic Studies, Vol. 17, No. 3, September 1968, pp. 252–63; Sewell, 1968, op. cit., p. 113.Google Scholar
  3. 1.
    L. Hewitt: “Internal migration and urban growth”, in G.W. Roberts (ed.): Recent Population Movements in Jamaica (CICRED, 1974), pp. 24–55.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    K. Tekse: Internal Migration in Jamaica (Kingston, Department of Statistics, 1967). Between 1960 and 1970 the net in-migration of males in the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew was 25,433 compared with 46,002 females. Hewitt, 1974, op. cit., p. 40.Google Scholar
  5. 1.
    G.W. Roberts: The Population of Jamaica (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1957), p. 87.Google Scholar
  6. 4.
    S. Olivier: Jamaica: The Blessed Isle (London, Faber and Faber, 1936), p. 335.Google Scholar
  7. 2.
    This represented double the absolute number estimated in 1938. G.E. Cumper: The Social Structure of Jamaica (Mona, UCWI, 1949).Google Scholar
  8. 3.
    O.C. Francis: The People of Modern Jamaica (Kingston, Department of Statistics, 1963), pp. 7–11.Google Scholar
  9. 2.
    An econometric analysis suggested that urban migration was unrelated to the level of employment opportunities. N.A. Adams: “Internal migration in Jamaica: An economic analysis”, Social and Economic Studies, Vol. 18, No. 2, June 1969, p. 145.Google Scholar
  10. 1.
    The JIDC was no more successful in the 1960’s. See S. Widdicombe: The Performance of Industrial Development Corporations (New York, Praeger, 1971), pp. 251–55; Clarke, 1975, op. cit., p. 85.Google Scholar
  11. 2.
    J. D. Durand: The Labour Force in Economic Development (New Jersey, Princeton University Press, 1975).Google Scholar
  12. 1.
    Department of Statistics: Labour Force Survey, October 1973 (Kingston, 1974), Table I, p. 18.Google Scholar
  13. 3.
    W.F. Maunder: Employment in an Underdeveloped Area (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1960), pp. 29–30.Google Scholar
  14. 1.
    ILO: Employment and Unemployment in Jamaica, report of a mission undertaken by the PREALC team (Geneva, ILO, 1972), Part II, p. 150.Google Scholar
  15. 3.
    E. Hoyt: “Voluntary unemployment and unem-ployability in Jamaica, with special reference to the standard of living”, British Journal of Sociology, Vol. 11, June 1960, pp. 129–36. Cumper argued that this was so in rural areas.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    L.A. Kirkcaldy: “Institutional reforms in a strategy of employment creation: The case of Jamaica”, in K. Wohlmuth (ed.): Employment Creation in Developing Countries — The Situation of Labour in Dependent Economies (New York, Praeger, 1973), p. 283.Google Scholar
  18. 1.
    Lewis, 1964, op, cit., p. 27; G. Tidrick: “Wage spillover and unemployment in a wage gap economy: The Jamaican case” (Research Memorandum No. 47, Williams College, Mass., USA, 1972).Google Scholar
  19. 2.
    L. Taylor: Consumers’ Expenditure in Jamaica (Mona, ISER, 1965).Google Scholar
  20. 3.
    M.G. Smith: “Education and occupational choice in Jamaica”, Social and Economic Studies, Vol. 9, No.3, September 1960, pp. 332–54;Google Scholar
  21. R.R. Kerton: “Labour theory and developing countries: The individual’s supply of effort in the Caribbean”, Ph.D. dissertation, Duke University, 1969.Google Scholar
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    G.J. Kruijer: Report on some of Jamaica’s Social Problems (Kingston, February 1968, mimeo).Google Scholar
  23. 1.
    M. G, Smith: “Aimless, wandering adolescent groups”, in S. Carter (ed.): The Adolescent in the Changing Caribbean (Mona, UCWI, 1963).Google Scholar
  24. 3.
    C.G. Clarke: “Population pressure in Kingston: A study of unemployment and overcrowding”, Transactions and Papers of the Institute of British Geographers, 1966, Publ. 8, 38, pp. 165–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 2.
    Department of Statistics: The Labour Force 1974 (Kingston, 1975). In October 1977 the proportion out of employment for more than six months was 48 per cent of the total unemployed.Google Scholar
  26. 2.
    The relationships, controlling for the influence of age, duration of unemployment, schooling and family commitments, were examined by regression analysis elsewhere. G. Standing: “Aspiration wages, migration and urban unemployment ”, Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 14, No.2, January 1978, pp. 237–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 1.
    Tekse, 1968, op. cit. The role and performance of the Government Employment Service is discussed in a paper submitted to the National Planning Agency in 1974. G. Standing: “Registered unemployment in Kingston” (Kingston, National Planning Agency, 1974).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Labour Organisation 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guy Standing

There are no affiliations available

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