The expanded use of contract workers in India has helped counter a dip in manufacturing productivity.How Contract Labor Is Boosting Indian Manufacturing
Paper Contract Labor and Firm Growth in India
Many observers have pointed to the bargaining power of organized labor, as initially implemented by the Industrial Disputes Act (IDA) of 1947, as an important constraint on growth in India. This act raises the cost of labor and of laying off workers, particularly for large firms with more than 100 workers. Since the late 1990s, large Indian manufacturing firms have increasingly relied on contract workers supplied by staffing companies who are not subject to the IDA. By 2011, contract workers accounted for 36% of total employment of firms with more than 100 workers. At the same time, the thickness of the right tail of the firm size distribution in formal Indian manufacturing plants has increased, the average product of labor for large firms has declined, the volatility of growth rates among large firms has increased, and the probability that large firms introduce new products has risen. We provide evidence in support of the causal effect of the increased supply of contract labor on the relaxation of employment constraints among large establishments following an Indian Supreme Court decision in 2001. We develop a model of firm growth subject to firing costs to quantify the effect of contract labor on TFP growth in Indian manufacturing.
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- Labor Market