Munich Personal RePEc Archive

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

Roy, Satyaki (2007): Structural change in employment in India since 1980s: How Lewisian is it? Published in: Social Scientist , Vol. 36, No. 11-12 (24. November 2008): pp. 47-68.

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Abstract

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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