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Employment Protection Legislation and Plant-Level Productivity in India


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  • Sean Dougherty
  • Verónica Frisancho Robles
  • Kala Krishna


Using plant-level data from the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) for the fiscal years from 1998-99 through 2007-08, this study provides plant-level cross-state/time-series evidence of the impact of employment protection legislation (EPL) on total factor productivity (TFP) and labour productivity in India. Identification of the effect of EPL follows from a difference-in-differences estimator inspired by Rajan and Zingales (1998) that takes advantage of the state-level variation in labour regulation and heterogeneous industry characteristics. The fundamental identification assumption is that EPL is more likely to restrict firms operating in industries with higher labour intensity and/or higher sales volatility. Our results show that firms in labour intensive or more volatile industries benefited the most from labour reforms in their states. Our point estimates indicate that, on average, firms in labour intensive industries and in flexible labour markets have TFP residuals 14% higher than those registered for their counterparts in states with more stringent labour laws. However, no important differences are identified among plants in industries with low labour intensity when comparing states with high and low levels of EPL reform. Similarly, the TFP of plants in volatile industries and in states that experienced more pro-employer reforms is 11% higher than that of firms in volatile industries and in more restrictive states; however, the TFP residuals of plants in industries with low labour intensity are 11% lower in high EPL reform states than in states with lower levels of EPL reform. In sum, the evidence presented here suggests that the high labour costs and rigidities imposed through Indian federal labour laws are lessened by labour market reforms at the state level. La législation sur la protection de l'emploi et la productivité des entreprises en Inde À l’aide de données au niveau des entreprises, tirées de l’enquête annuelle sur les industries (ASI) pour l’ensemble des exercices comptables entre 1998-99 et 2007-08, cette étude présente des séries chronologiques pour des États indiens mettant en lumière l’incidence de la législation sur la protection de l’emploi (LPE) sur la productivité totale des facteurs (PTF) et la productivité du travail dans les entreprises indiennes. L’incidence de la LPE est déterminée à partir d’un estimateur de la différence des différences inspiré de Rajan et Zingales (1998), qui tire parti des différences de réglementation au niveau des États et des caractéristiques hétérogènes des secteurs d’activité. L’hypothèse de base retenue pour la détermination de l’incidence est que la LPE est plus susceptible de peser sur les entreprises exerçant leurs activités dans un secteur à forte intensité de main-d’oeuvre et/ou dont la volatilité des ventes est élevée. Nos résultats montrent que les entreprises relevant de secteurs à forte intensité de main-d’oeuvre ou plus volatils sont celles qui ont le plus tiré profit des réformes du marché du travail mises en place dans leurs États. Nos évaluations de point indiquent qu’en moyenne, les entreprises de secteurs à forte intensité de main-d’oeuvre et évoluant dans un marché du travail flexible affichent, pour la PTF, des chiffres résiduels supérieurs de 14 % à ceux de leurs homologues implantées dans des États dont la législation sur le travail est plus stricte. Toutefois, aucun écart important n’a été décelé entre les entreprises de secteurs à faible intensité de main-d’oeuvre lorsque l’on compare les États qui ont peu et beaucoup réformé leur LPE. De même, la PTF des entreprises de secteurs volatils implantées dans des États ayant imposé des réformes plus favorables aux employeurs est supérieure de 11 % à celle des entreprises de secteurs volatils implantées dans des États plus restrictifs. Cependant, les chiffres résiduels de la PTF des entreprises exerçant leurs activités dans des secteurs à faible intensité de main-d’oeuvre sont inférieurs de 11 % dans les États ayant beaucoup réformé leur LPE par rapport à ceux qui ont peu réformé leur législation dans ce domaine. En conclusion, les éléments présentés ici donnent à penser que les effets des coûts élevés du travail et des rigidités imposées par la législation fédérale indienne sur l’emploi sont atténués par les réformes du marché du travail mises en oeuvre au niveau des États.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 917.

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Date of creation: 16 Dec 2011
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:917-en

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Keywords: state-level reforms; total factor productivity; firm heterogeneity; labour regulation; difference-in-differences; productivité totale des facteurs; réglementation du travail; réformes au niveau des États; différence des différences; hétérogénéité des entreprises;

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Cited by:
  1. Peter Gal & Alexander Hijzen & Zoltan Wolf, 2012. "The Role of Institutions and Firm Heterogeneity for Labour Market Adjustment: Cross-Country Firm-Level Evidence," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 134, OECD Publishing.
  2. Ayyagari, Meghana & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Maksimovic, Vojislav, 2013. "Size and age of establishments: evidence from developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6718, The World Bank.


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