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The Service Sector as India's Road to Economic Growth

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  • Barry Eichengreen
  • Poonam Gupta

Abstract

While India is distinctive among developing countries for its fast-growing service sector, sceptics have raised doubts about the quality and sustainability of this service-sector growth and its implications for economic development. We show, consistent with the views of the sceptics, that while growth of the sector has been unusually rapid, it started 15 years ago from unusually low levels. That the share of services has now simply converged to the international norm raises questions about whether it will continue growing rapidly. In particular, whether service-sector output and employment continue to grow in excess of international norms will depend on the continued expansion of modern services (business services, communication and banking) but, also, on the application of modern information technology to more traditional services (retail and wholesale trade, transport and storage, public administration and defense ). The second aspect obviously has more positive implications for output than for employment. We also show that the modern services that are growing most rapidly are now large enough where their future performance could have a significant macroeconomic impact. The expansion of modern service-sector employment is not simply disguised manufacturing activity. Finally, we show that the mix of skilled and unskilled labor in manufacturing and services is increasingly similar. It is no longer obvious therefore that manufacturing is the main destination for the vast majority of Indian labor moving into the modern sector and that modern services are a viable destination only for the highly-skilled few. We conclude that sustaining economic growth and raising living standards will require shifting labor into both manufacturing and services.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16757.

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Date of creation: Feb 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16757

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References

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  1. Ingo Borchert & Aaditya Mattoo, 2009. "The crisis-resilience of services trade," The Service Industries Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(13), pages 2115-2136, August.
  2. Arvind Subramanian & Raghuram Rajan & Ioannis Tokatlidis & Kalpana Kochhar & Utsav Kumar, 2006. "India's Pattern of Development," IMF Working Papers 06/22, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Kalpana Kochhar & Utsav Kumar & Raghuram Rajan & Arvind Subramanian, 2006. "India's Patterns of Development: What Happened, What Follows," NBER Working Papers 12023, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Barry Bosworth & Susan M. Collins & Arvind Virmani, 2006. "Sources of Growth in the Indian Economy," India Policy Forum, Global Economy and Development Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 3(1), pages 1-69.
  5. Rashmi Banga & B.N.Goldar, 2004. "Contribution of services to output growth and productivity in Indian manufacturing: Pre and post reforms," Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, New Delhi Working Papers 139, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, New Delhi, India.
  6. Poonam Gupta & James P. F. Gordon, 2004. "Understanding India’s Services Revolution," IMF Working Papers 04/171, International Monetary Fund.
  7. J. Bradford Jensen & Lori G. Kletzer, 2005. "Tradable Services: Understanding the Scope and Impact of Services Outsourcing," Working Paper Series WP05-9, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Shepherd, Ben & Pasadilla, Gloria, 2012. "Services as a New Engine of Growth for ASEAN, the People’s Republic of China, and India," ADBI Working Papers 349, Asian Development Bank Institute.
  2. Felipe, Jesus & Kumar, Utsav & Abdon, Arnelyn, 2013. "Exports, capabilities, and industrial policy in India," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 939-956.
  3. Shingal, ANIRUDH, 2010. "Services growth and convergence: Getting India’s states together," MPRA Paper 32813, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Shashidhara Kolavalli & Elizabeth Robinson & Guyslain Ngeleza & Felix Asante, 2012. "Economic Transformation in Ghana: Where Will the Path Lead?," Journal of African Development, African Finance and Economic Association, vol. 14(2), pages 41-78.
  5. Barry Eichengreen & Poonam Gupta, 2013. "Exports of services: Indian experience in perspective," Indian Growth and Development Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 6(1), pages 35-60, March.
  6. Gaaitzen J. de Vries & Abdul A. Erumban & Marcel P. Timmer & Ilya B. Voskoboynikov & Harry X. Wu, 2011. "Deconstructing The BRICs: Structural Transformation And Aggregate Productivity Growth," HSE Working papers WP BRP 04/EC/2011, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  7. K.V. Ramaswamy & Tushar Agrawal, 2012. "Services-led growth, employment and job quality: A Study of manufacturing and service-sector in urban India," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2012-007, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
  8. Mishra, Saurabh & Lundstrom, Susanna & Anand, Rahul, 2011. "Service export sophistication and economic growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5606, The World Bank.
  9. Banerjee, Rajabrata & Roy, Saikat Sinha, 2014. "Human capital, technological progress and trade: What explains India's long run growth?," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 15-31.
  10. Verma, Rubina, 2012. "Can total factor productivity explain value added growth in services?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 163-177.
  11. Mukherji, Arnab & Mukherji, Anjan, 2012. "Bihar: What Went Wrong? And What Changed?," Working Papers 12/107, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.
  12. Mark Weisbrot & Rebecca Ray, 2011. "The Scorecard on Development, 1960-2010: Closing the Gap?," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2011-09, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
  13. Nobuaki Yamashita, 2012. "Can India become an export platform for global operations of Japanese and American multinational corporations affiliates?," Working Papers 11112, Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade (ARTNeT), an initiative of UNESCAP and IDRC, Canada..
  14. Utsav, Kumar, 2010. "India’s Demographic Transition: Boon or Bane? A State-Level Perspective," MPRA Paper 24922, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Lee, Chien-Chiang & Chen, Mei-Ping & Chang, Chi-Hung, 2013. "Dynamic relationships between industry returns and stock market returns," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 119-144.

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