Exploring the Pattern of Trade Union Activity in the Indian Manufacturing Sector

  • Jaivir Singh
  • Deb Kusum Das
  • Kumar Abhishek
  • Prateek Kukreja


This chapter begins by decrying the lack of data on unions and union activity in India and points out that most empirical work uses proxy measurements such as strikes to infer union activity. The chapter overcomes the data hurdle by using data from a specially commissioned survey of manufacturing firms spread over five Indian states. Using this data, the presence of a union in a firm is linked to a variety of firm characteristics using a limited dependent variable (probit) model. The results indicate that unions are located in firms where there are rents to be shared. In addition to this, the results show that the presence of unions seems to be sensitive to the prevailing legal milieu—highlighting an interesting relationship with temporary contract workers. The results also provide empirical support to some of the insights offered by the incomplete contract analysis of labour markets.


Globalization Rent sharing Probit Law and trade unions Incomplete contract Contract worker 



The chapter is a part of the ‘Jobs and Development’ research project at ICRIER supported by the World Bank (Grant No.: 502915-01). Financial support from World Bank is gratefully acknowledged. The authors would like to thank Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) for allowing references to the working paper by the co-authors under the same project. The views expressed are of the authors solely. The usual disclaimers apply.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaivir Singh
    • 1
  • Deb Kusum Das
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kumar Abhishek
    • 4
  • Prateek Kukreja
    • 5
  1. 1.Professor, Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Associate Professor, Ramjas College, University of DelhiNew DelhiIndia
  3. 3.External Consultant, Indian Council for Research on International Economic RelationsNew DelhiIndia
  4. 4.Research Assistant, Indian Council for Research on International Economic RelationsNew DelhiIndia
  5. 5.Research Associate, Indian Council for Research on International Economic RelationsNew DelhiIndia

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