ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Dominant Presence in Indian Labour Economics

Labour economist Dipak Mazumdar (1932–2018) framed the way in which employment issues in India and developing countries are thought of.

Dipak Mazumdar, doyen of Indian labour economics, passed away in Toronto. Dipak’s conceptualising, followed by dogged and detailed empirical investigation, shaped the way we think of employment issues in India and developing countries. He was a prolific author, not least in Economic & Political Weekly (EPW). Through his writings, his extensive travel and conference presentations, and his mentorship of young economists—including this author—he influenced a generation of policy and empirically oriented development economists.

Like many distinguished Indian economists, Dipak started at Presidency College. And like many of his generation of Indian economists, he studied at Cambridge. His early career was in British academia, particularly at the London School of Economics. In the 1970s, he began an interaction with the World Bank which culminated in a permanent appointment, and much of his work from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s was done under the auspices of the World Bank. My own professional association with him dates from this period. He retired from the World Bank to Toronto in 1994, to be with his wife Pauline Mazumdar, who was professor of the History of Medicine at the University of Toronto. But this was retirement in name only. If anything, his research and travel intensified, with the University of Toronto as his academic base. And his engagement with Indian policy debates, and Indian cultural life, remained as active as ever, with an annual decampment from Toronto to Delhi for several months.

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Updated On : 30th Jul, 2018
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