The Exceptional Persistence of India's Unorganized Sector

37 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Syed Ejaz Ghani

Syed Ejaz Ghani

World Bank

William Kerr

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit

Stephen D. O'Connell

CUNY The Graduate Center - Department of Economics; World Bank

Date Written: May 1, 2013

Abstract

The transformation of India's unorganized sector is important to its modernization, growth, and attainment of regional economic equality. This paper documents several key facts about India's unorganized sector in manufacturing and services. First, the unorganized sector is large, accounting for more than 99 percent of establishments and 80 percent of employment in manufacturing. Second, the unorganized sector is stubbornly persistent -- it accounted for 81 percent of manufacturing employment in 1989 and 2005. Third, this persistence is not due to particular subsets of industries or states, as most industries and states show limited change in unorganized sector employment shares. Fourth, the degree to which localized unorganized activity exists is important as it is associated with weaker production functions for manufacturing firms. Building from these facts, the paper investigates conditions promoting transformation by state-industry. Decomposition exercises find that both within and between adjustments for state-industries weakly reduce unorganized sector shares. The aggregate persistence instead comes from the covariance term, where fast-growing state-industries witness rising unorganized sector activity. Regressions quantify that growth in the organized sector by state-industry reduces the unorganized sector employment share, but only marginally reduces employment levels in unorganized activity. Analysis of the establishment size distribution highlights that entrepreneurship and larger organized sector plants are most important for transitions in the manufacturing sector, while small establishments play a key role in the services sector.

Keywords: Labor Markets, Labor Policies, Water and Industry, Tertiary Education, E-Business

Suggested Citation

Ghani, Ejaz and Kerr, William R. and O'Connell, Stephen D., The Exceptional Persistence of India's Unorganized Sector (May 1, 2013). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6454. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2268315

Ejaz Ghani (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

William R. Kerr

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Stephen D. O'Connell

CUNY The Graduate Center - Department of Economics ( email )

365 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016
United States

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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