Labour Reforms in the Indian State of Rajasthan: a boon or a bane?

Diti Goswami and Sourabh Paul
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi

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The authors examine the impact of labour law deregulations in the Indian state of Rajasthan on plant employment and performance. In 2014, after a long time, Rajasthan was the first Indian state that introduced labour reforms in the Industrial Disputes Act (1947), the Factories Act (1948), the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act (1970), and the Apprentices Act (1961). Exploiting this unique quasi-natural experiment, the authors apply a difference-in-difference framework using the Annual Survey of Industries longitudinal data of India’s manufacturing establishments. Their results show that reforms had an unintended consequence of the decline in labour use. Also, worryingly, the flexibility resulted in a disproportionate decline in the directly employed worker. Evidence suggests that the reforms positively impact the value-added and productivity of the establishments. The strength of these effects varies depending on the underlying industry and reform structure. These findings prove robust to a set of specifications.

Keywords: labour law reforms, employment, productivity, difference-in-differences, establishment level, India

Suggested citation:

Goswami, Diti and Sourabh Paul. 2021. “Labour Reforms in the Indian state of Rajasthan: A boon or a bane?” Centre for Sustainable Employment Working Paper #33, Azim Premji University, Bangalore.