A study of certain aspects of the productivity of industrial labor in independent India

dc.contributor.advisorDeGregori, Thomas R.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberSteele, Henry B.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberScofield, Robert W.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberZingler, Ervin K.
dc.creatorBright, Jay B.
dc.description.abstractThe economic problem faced by the mass of mankind for most of world's history has been that of bare subsistence. The spread of sustained material prosperity for entire populations is indeed a very recent phenomenon; it has occured in a few countries in the past couple of centuries, and can most simply be explained in terms' of the accelarated growth of technology (the state of industrial arts, or 'organized skill' as Ayres has defined it) and industrialization. Can industrialization be transplanted from an industrially advanced country on to an industrially underdeveloped country with any hope of an immediate successful adoption? How does a mostly illiterate industrial labor force perform over time? These questions have been of increasing interest to students of economics of underdevelopment. While this dissertation does not attempt to discover the 'final answers' to the above questions, it examines the changes in the productivity of industrial labor over time in recent years for India - a truly underdeveloped country in terms of real per capita income and literacy rates. This dissertation tests the following hypothesis: 'A young and inexperienced labor force, without a prolonged industrial learning process behind it, has been reponsible for India's failure during its two initial plans of economic development to achieve an economic breakthrough by means of an industrial revolution'. To test this hypothesis, one phase of the investigation examined the rate of change in the productivity of industrial labor in recent years for two Indian industries - one of these being a well established industry (the cotton textile industry) and another an infant industry (the motor vehicle industry). A similar study was conducted for the two corresponding British industries, the difference being that in Britain's case, both industries are well established. On comparing the slopes of productivity trends for the Indian and the British cotton industries, it was found that the trend slope for the latter was greater. This finding supported the hypothesis since the labor in the British cotton industry has had a longer exposure to industrial learning processes relative to the Indian industry, and hence has a steeper trend (assuming other factors affecting productivity constant). A similar comparison between British Kotor and British cotton industries showed a significant difference between their trend values - a finding contrary to what the hypothesis would require since both industries are well established in Britain. Another phase of the investigation correlated productivity of industrial labor in India with the intensity of physical investment and found that there was positive but low correlation between the two variables. Finally, productivity and age-ranks of certain industries in both countries were correlated, and it was found that there existed a negative correlation between these. This finding does not support the hypothesis. The overall conclusion of this dissertation is that the period of subjection of the total labor force to industrial learning processes is not the critical reason for lower industrial productivity in India; factors such as management, entrepreneurship, attitudes of workers and labor unions, and the like may, in the aggregate, outweigh the influence of industrial learning processes on the productivity of industrial labor.
dc.description.departmentEconomics, Department of
dc.format.digitalOriginreformatted digital
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dc.titleA study of certain aspects of the productivity of industrial labor in independent India
dcterms.accessRightsThe full text of this item is not available at this time because it contains documents that are presumed to be under copyright and are accessible only to users who have an active CougarNet ID. This item will continue to be made available through interlibrary loan.
thesis.degree.collegeCollege of Business Administration
thesis.degree.departmentEconomics, Department of
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Houston
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophy


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