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Determinants Of Precarious Employment In India: An Empirical Analysis

Precarious Work

ISBN: 978-1-78743-288-8, eISBN: 978-1-78743-287-1

Publication date: 19 December 2017


The growing incidence of precarious employment across many sectors is a serious challenge for a developing country like India. Neo-liberal arguments justify precarity as essential for the development of the free market economy and advocate realigning human resource practices with an ever-changing business environment and labor cost conditions. This chapter seeks to identify the determinants and dynamics surrounding precarity of workers engaged in temporary employment in India. It uses the unique Employment and Unemployment Survey data set published by the National Sample Survey Organisation of Government of India for two time periods 2009–2010 (66th Round) and 2011–2012 (68th Round) to bring out the dimensions of precarity and identify the determinants (both micro- and macro-levels) of participation in temporary employment. We find that precarious employment is most likely to affect the young, women, non-union members, those belonging to minority and socially deprived communities with low land holding and low educational status. Precarious employment is also most pronounced in states where labor-intensive industries are exposed to global import competition and where labor laws are rigid. The chapter concludes by discussing the implications of these findings for the economic and social policies that Indian governments have adopted in recent years.




We would like to thank, without implicating, an anonymous referee and the editors of this chapter for their incisive observations on an earlier draft. Needless to state, the views expressed and the approach pursued in the chapter reflect the author’s personal opinion.


Sapkal, R.S. and Sundar, K.R.S. (2017), "Determinants Of Precarious Employment In India: An Empirical Analysis", Kalleberg, A.L. and Vallas, S.P. (Ed.) Precarious Work (Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 31), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 335-361.



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