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Labor Law Reform in India: Insights from Tangled Legacy of Sidney & Beatrice Webb

Indian Journal of Industrial Relations

Volume 50 Issue 1

Published: 2014
Author(s) Name: Bruce E. Kaufman | Author(s) Affiliation: Professor, Department of Economics, Georgia State University, Atlanta GA USA Department of Employmen
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Sidney and Beatrice Webb, co-founders of the industrial relations field and early pioneers of Fabian Socialism significantly influenced Jawaharlal Nehru and Indias post- Independence model of economic development. Part of this model was a protectionist regime of labor law which has now come under increasing criticism as a structural impediment to growth. This article reviews the ideas of the Webbs and uses them as a prism for evaluating the case for labor law reform and the direction it should take. The article advances a three-prong conclusion: the Webbs program for labor market regulation remains sound in principle but the specifics in India need substantial adjustment, the most important way to generate higher employment growth is not from labor market deregulation but continued liberalization of product markets and encouragement of entrepreneurship, and the most critical pro-growth reform is more efficient and honest institutional regulatory governance.

Keywords: N.A.

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