ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Inequality in India–II

To determine the inequality in wage earnings, attention is paid to the distinction between formal and informal types of employment, and the returns to education. Alternative definitions to understand the formal–informal dichotomy are employed to show that employers are increasingly using “informal” workers in formal enterprises. In Part I of this paper (EPW, 29 July 2017), changes in household welfare as measured by per capita household expenditure were analysed.

Inequality in India–I

Examining the course of inequality in terms of average per capita expenditure, it is seen that the period after the reforms were initiated registered a dramatic increase in the relative growth of welfare in the top expenditure group, even as the poorest group progressed at a rate higher than the mean. The dip in the middle of the distribution disappeared later when a “ladder” pattern of growth was observed, with each quintile group showing a higher growth rate than the preceding one. The major reasons for this changing pattern are discussed in terms of the structure of growth in the Indian economy, particularly what happened in the tertiary and manufacturing sectors. The paper is being published in two parts. Part II will appear in the issue of 12 August. 

Price of Land and Skill Bias in Manufacturing

For a comprehensive analysis of the influence of relative factor prices on the nature of manufacturing or any other economic activity, one should include not just labour and capital but also land.

A Note on Profits, Rents and Wages in Global Production Networks

What are the consequences for profits, rents and wages of the splintering of production tasks across firms in different countries? Such global production networks allow the concentration of rents in lead firms, with some share of these rents possibly being shared with labour. However, profits and wages in competitive production segments, largely located in developing countries, will tend towards market-based minima. Various combinations of product and labour market conditions and their outcomes are analysed in this paper. It ends with a discussion of the different routes by which wages might be increased in such a system of global production networks.

Blood on Your Mobile?

The question of establishing a value chain in mobile phones that is free of coltan (a mineral used in capacitors, essential for these phones) is not only one of tracing the path of supply of this mineral. Traceability needs to be backed by measures to support artisanal miners through local facilitation centres and finance, and with steps to establish a credible state, one responsible to its citizens, including the miners.

Income Inequality in India: Pre- and Post-Reform Periods

India witnessed a widening of income inequality during the phase of acceleration in economic growth in the post-reform period (1993-94 to 2004-05). This paper analyses the issue by using different types of inequality measurements like general entropy indices, kernel density graphs, percentile of income graphs and field decomposition. It finds two major features of a rising inequality in urban areas: (a) even with a doubling of per capita consumption growth in the post-reform decade, the decline in poverty was less by a quarter compared to the pre-reform decade, and (b) in the post-reform period, the growth of the wage rate of regular workers was negative up to the 50th percentile of wage earnings, and beyond that point, wage rate growth turned positive and rose sharply to reach 5% per annum in highest quintile of wage earnings.

Growth of Employment and Earnings in Tertiary Sector, 1983-2000

The tertiary sector-led employment growth in recent decades in India is out of line with the experience of modern economic development. It has raised concerns about the level of earnings at which labour is being absorbed in this sector. This paper makes use of NSS data from the quinquennial rounds to throw light on whether labour is being pushed into this sector due to lack of opportunities in other activities. The movement of the distribution of the mean per capita expenditure over successive rounds shows that there has been not only an outward shift of the distribution in the tertiary sector but also an increase in inequality and "dualism" in the sector and within its critical sub-sectors.

Development and Deprivation of Scheduled Tribes

This paper presents estimates of the human development index, human poverty index and gender development index for the scheduled tribes in India. The HDI and HPI for STs are found to be around 30 per cent lower than the corresponding all-India indices. In an international comparison, development and deprivation among the STs of India are similar to that in the poorer countries of sub-Saharan Africa.

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