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

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Remembering Ajit Kumar Ghose (1947–2023)

The intellectual contributions of Ajit Kumar Ghose in the field of labour economics have been far-reaching. Focusing on the interlinked themes of dual economies and structural transformation, this obituary reflects upon the salient features of Ghosh’s many intellectual contributions towards studying the Indian economy.

Ajit Kumar Ghose, who passed away earlier this year, was one of Indias foremost labour economists. Ghose had a long and distinguished career at several institutions of national and international importance, most significantly the International Labour Organization, where he worked for over 25 years. Most recently, he was a honorary professor at the Institute for Human Development in New Delhi. I had the good fortune of interacting with Ghose on a few occasions in the recent years. He was a soft-spoken and humble man who carried his vast learning and sharp intellect lightly, reminding one of the Sanskrit proverb, (virtuous people bow low like a fruit-laden tree).

Over his four-decade-long career, Ghose worked on a wide range of subjects, including economic growth, globalisation, structural transformation, employment, as well as foreign trade and investment. He published several important papers in this very journal, including an early comprehensive analysis of the dynamics of the Indian workforce over the decades of the 1980s and 1990s in which he warned of the employment crisis to come (Ghose 1999). In an article published just a month after he passed away (Ghose 2023), he provided empirical evidence as well as theoretical explanation for the exclusive nature of Indias growth in the period between 1993 and 2017. In a 2006 paper, again published in this journal and titled Economic Growth and Employment in Labour-surplus Economies, he provided an insightful extension to the well-known model by W Arthur Lewis.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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