DP1 | Human Resources & the Labour Force: Issues for Contemporary & Comparative Research

Publication Date

01/01/1984

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Abstract

This paper emphasises some of the outstanding issues on the agenda for research on the labour force in Britain. It surveys topics but not results and does not attempt to review the literature or current research. Human resources are defined as the potential for creating economic welfare through the use of people's time. The paper takes a broad view of labour supply questions as involving the lifetime allocation of everybody's time over a range of "non-market" activities like education, caring for oneself and others as well as paid work. It recognises quality as well as quanitity dimensions to these activities and views the stock of resources as an asset, the outcome of investment. Possible topics for research are listed under three broad headings: a) factors affecting the creation of human resources and their supply to the economy; b) factors affecting the quantity and quality of employment on the demand side of the economy; and c) factors affecting processes of adjustment to change. The very wide field thus ecompassed ranges from questions of family formation and dissolution, the 'unemployment' and 'poverty' traps, geographical mobility of residence and employment pay discrimination, the 'discouraged worker' hypothesis and the flexibility of working hours. The authors suggest combining the insights of human capital models with those of labour market segmentation and advocate further exploitation of longitudinal data for a number of purposes. The ultimate purpose of research on human resources and their deployment is seen as an attempt to document the complementary growth of human and non-human resources in the process of economic development.