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Economic Adversity and Entrepreneurship-led Growth: Lessons from the Indian Software Sector

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  • Athreye, Suma

Abstract

It is commonly believed that the business environment in developing countries does not allow productive technology-based entrepreneurship to flourish. In this paper, we draw on the experience of Indian software firms where entrepreneurial growth has belied these predictions. This paper argues that the business models chosen by Indian firms were those that best aligned the country’s abundant labour resources and advantages to global demand. Many potentially higher value added opportunities struggled to attain success, but the qualitative value of experimental failures and the capability gaps they exposed was invaluable for collective managerial learning in the industry. Second, the paper also shows that the presence of growth opportunities and the success of firms stimulated institutional evolution to promote entrepreneurial growth. Last we show that the distinctive aggregate contribution of entrepreneurial firms was that they outperformed business houses and multinational subsidiaries in their more productive use of available capital resources whilst achieving similar levels of growth in output and employment. This paper draws upon an earlier shorter paper co-authored with Mike Hobday and titled 'Overcoming Development Adversity: How Entrepreneurs Led Software Development in India'.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) in its series Working Paper Series with number UNU-WIDER Working Paper WP2010/04.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2010-04

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Related research

Keywords: Technology entrepreneurship; institutions and economic development; Indian software; intellectual property rights;

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  1. Suma S. Athreye, 2005. "The Indian software industry and its evolving service capability," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 393-418, June.
  2. Dossani, Rafiq & Kenney, Martin, 2002. "Creating an Environment for Venture Capital in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 227-253, February.
  3. Hausmann, Ricardo & Rodrik, Dani, 2002. "Economic Development as Self-Discovery," Working Paper Series rwp02-023, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  4. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2000. "Reputation Effects And The Limits Of Contracting: A Study Of The Indian Software Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 989-1017, August.
  5. Tarun Khanna & Krishna Palepu, 2000. "Is Group Affiliation Profitable in Emerging Markets? An Analysis of Diversified Indian Business Groups," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(2), pages 867-891, 04.
  6. Simon Johnson & John McMillan & Christopher Woodruff, 1999. "Contract Enforcement in Transition," CESifo Working Paper Series 211, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Teece, David J., 1986. "Profiting from technological innovation: Implications for integration, collaboration, licensing and public policy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 285-305, December.
  8. Asish Arora & Alfonso Gambardella, 2004. "The Globalization of the Software Industry: Perspectives and Opportunities for Developed and Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 10538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Baumol, William J, 1990. "Entrepreneurship: Productive, Unproductive, and Destructive," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 893-921, October.
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