The last few decades have seen increasing attention to problems of open and disguised unemployment (and underemployment) in developing countries. Open unemployment appears to have increased in the sixties. Disguised unemployment of persons in the labour force (as defined by marginal product of labour below the wage) is a key element in the labour surplus interpretations of underdeveloped economies. In developed countries, hidden or disguised unemployment is thought of primarily in terms of nonparticipation related to the difficulty of obtaining a job; the usual proxy for such difficulty is the unemployment rate. As open unemployment has risen in the urban areas of many L.D.C's, while participation rates have at the same time been falling, it is natural to ask whether this particular form of hidden unemployment is becoming increasingly important in those countries. More generally, a country's participation rate is a valuable indicator of the degree of utilization of the labour force; the hints it may provide as to the nautre of the labour market and the demand for labour are one of several contributions it makes to the understanding of an economic system.
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