What is the Lewis Model of Structural Economic Growth and Development?
Arthur Lewis put forward a development model of a dualistic economy, consisting of rural agricultural and urban manufacturing sectors
Initially, the majority of labour is employed upon the land, which is a fixed resource. Labour is a variable resource and, as more labour is put to work on the land, diminishing marginal returns eventually set in: there may be insufficient tasks for the marginal worker to undertake, resulting in reduced marginal product (output produced by an additional worker) and underemployment.
Urban workers, engaged in manufacturing, tend to produce a higher value of output than their agricultural counterparts. The resultant higher urban wages (Lewis stated that a 30% premium was required) might therefore tempt surplus agricultural workers to migrate to cities and engage in manufacturing activity. High urban profits would encourage firms to expand and hence result in further rural-urban migration.
The Lewis model is a model of STRUCTURAL CHANGE since it outlines the development from a traditional economy to an industrialized one.
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