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wages an development wages an development

Changing Wage Structure in India in the Post-Reform Era

This paper documents the changing structure of wages in India over the post-reform era, the roughly two-decade period since 1993. To investigate the factors underlying these changes, a supply-demand framework is applied at the level of the Indian state. While real wages have risen across India over the past two decades, the increase has been greater in rural areas and, especially, for unskilled workers. The analysis finds that, in rural areas, the changing wage structure has been driven largely by relative supply factors, such as increased overall education levels and falling female labor force participation. Relative wage changes between rural and urban areas have been driven largely by shifts in employment, notably into unskilled-intensive sectors like construction.