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Structural change in employment in India since 1980s: How Lewisian is it?

  • Roy, Satyaki

Indian economy shows high levels of growth and per capita income in recent years accompanied by an unprecedented shift of labour from agriculture to non-agriculture during the last decade. Reallocation of labour from ‘traditional’ to ‘modern’ segments in an economy having large surplus labour was conceived in the Lewisian framework as the process by way of which both accumulation of capital and exhaustion of surplus labour takes place. This paper argues that the structural change in employment in India that results from the exclusionary nature of the growth process hardly approximates the Lewisian trajectory. Finally, in the context of globalisation this paper explains the responses of firms of various size categories in non-agriculture and argues that the shift in employment basically expands the ‘reserve army of labour’ in the Marxian sense instead of exhaustion of surplus labour conceived in Lewisian conjectures.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 18009.

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Date of creation: 08 Dec 2007
Date of revision: 2008
Publication status: Published in Social Scientist 11-12.36(2008): pp. 47-68
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:18009
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  1. Ranis, Gustav & Stewart, Frances, 1999. "V-Goods and the Role of the Urban Informal Sector in Development," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(2), pages 259-88, January.
  2. Kirkpatrick, Colin & Barrientos, Armando, 2004. "The Lewis Model After Fifty Years," Development Economics and Public Policy Working Papers 30550, University of Manchester, Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM).
  3. Cooper, Charles, 1995. "Technological Change and Dual Economies," UNU-INTECH Discussion Paper Series 10, United Nations University - INTECH.
  4. Sukti Dasgupta & Ajit Singh, 2006. "Manufacturing, Services and Premature De-Industrialisation in Developing Countries: A Kaldorian Empirical Analysis," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp327, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
  5. Lewis, W Arthur, 1979. "The Dual Economy Revisited," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 47(3), pages 211-29, September.
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