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Dualism and Structural Transformation: The Informal Manufacturing Sector in India

Surbhi Kesar and Snehashish Bhattacharya ()
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Snehashish Bhattacharya: South Asian University

The European Journal of Development Research, 2020, vol. 32, issue 3, No 6, 560-586

Abstract: Abstract We identify a basic dualism within the informal manufacturing sector (IMS) in India between a ‘traditional’/non-capitalist segment, comprising family-based household enterprises that constitute the vast majority of the IMS, and a segment of ‘modern’/capitalist enterprises employing wage labour. We focus on the high-growth decade of 2000–2001 to 2010–2011 to analyse whether there has been a marked tendency of this ‘traditional’ segment to transform into a ‘modern’ segment. We construct a variable, the net accumulation fund, which indicates the ability of an enterprise to accumulate and grow, and explore its evolution, over time and across industries, for enterprises with different production structures and firm-level characteristics. We show that while, on one hand, the average ‘traditional’ enterprise has been able to economically reproduce itself rather than withering away, the dualism between the ‘traditional’/non-capitalist and the ‘modern’/capitalist segments has been reproduced and further reinforced during this period of high economic growth, raising questions about the process of economic transformation as envisaged in much of development literature.

Keywords: Informal sector; Dualism; Structural transformation; Manufacturing; India (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O14 O17 J46 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1057/s41287-019-00228-0

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