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Formal and Informal Employment Growth in Manufacturing in South Asia: India and Bangladesh

Rapid economic growth in South Asia has not resulted in increased economic importance of manufacturing as compared to countries of South East and East Asia. Although services have emerged as the predominant sector, agriculture continues to remain a major provider of jobs as far as the economies of India and Bangladesh are concerned. For those not working in agriculture, large establishments or informal sector manufacturing firms are the main sources of livelihood. However, modern manufacturing sector in the two countries lack the intensive, mid-sized firms that could generate the kinds of jobs that South Asia desperately needs.

This research focuses on the formal and informal manufacturing labour forces of India and Bangladesh, which comprise most of the poor in South Asia. It strives to explain the persistence of the “missing middle” in the modern manufacturing segment, with the use of recent data (national, regional and firm-specific) while establishing links with industrial policy making bodies and increasing research capacity on labour markets in the region. It aims to shed light on the capacity of the formal and informal sectors in Indian and Bangladeshi manufacturing to provide employment.

The research comprises two distinct parts

Part 1: International comparison of India and Bangladesh vis-ΰ-vis other Asian Countries

Paper 1 – Size Structure of Manufacturing Industries – An International Comparison

Part 2: Detailed work on India and Bangladesh

A. Based on secondary data


Paper 2 – Non-household Sector in Indian Manufacturing
Paper 3 – Size Structure of Manufacturing Industry and Implications for Growth and Poverty – Bangladesh Country Paper

B. Based on case study and survey on limited number of firms

Paper 4 – A Case Study of Footwear Industry in India
Paper 5 – Garment Industry in India: Some Reflections on Size Distribution of Firms
Paper 6 – The Development of Auto Component Industry in India
Paper 7 – Knitwear Industry in Bangladesh: A Case Study of Firms in Narayanganj
Paper 8 – Leather Footwear Industry in Dhaka – A Case study
Paper 9 – Light Engineering Industry in Bangladesh – A Case Study

C. Additional Papers

Paper 10 – The Employment Problem in India and the Phenomenon of Missing Middle
Paper 11 – The Size Structure of Manufacturing Industry in Vietnam

The funding for the project has been provided by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada, and is being executed in India by the Institute for Human Development. In Bangladesh, the study has been executed by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies

Members of the Research Team:

Institute for Human Development
Dr Sandip Sarkar
Ms Bindu Kumari
Mr Balwant Singh Mehta

Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies
Dr Zaid Bakht
Dr Mohammad Yunus
Dr Nazneen Ahmed

External Canadian Collaborator
Prof. Dipak Mazumdar

Time Period: December 19, 2007 to June 19, 2010

Free ebook: The papers compiled in a book has been published by Routledge, London and IDRC, Canada CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD