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In with the Big, Out with the Small: Removing Small-Scale Reservations in India

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  • Leslie A. Martin
  • Shanthi Nataraj
  • Ann E. Harrison

Abstract

An ongoing debate in employment policy is whether promoting small and medium enterprises creates jobs. We use the elimination of small-scale industry (SSI) promotion in India to address this question. For 60 years, SSI promotion in India focused on reserving certain products for manufacture by small and medium enterprises. We identify the consequences for employment growth, investment, output, productivity, and wages of dismantling India's SSI reservations. We exploit variation in the timing of de-reservation across products and also measure the long-run impact of national SSI policy changes using variation in pretreatment exposure at the district level. Districts more exposed to de-reservation experienced higher employment and output growth. Entrants into the de-reserved product spaces and incumbents that were previously constrained by the size restrictions drove the increase in growth. The results suggest that dismantling India's SSI policies encouraged overall employment growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Leslie A. Martin & Shanthi Nataraj & Ann E. Harrison, 2017. "In with the Big, Out with the Small: Removing Small-Scale Reservations in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(2), pages 354-386, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:2:p:354-86
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20141335
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    Cited by:

    1. David McKenzie, 2017. "How Effective Are Active Labor Market Policies in Developing Countries? A Critical Review of Recent Evidence," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 32(2), pages 127-154.
    2. Ann E. Harrison & Ben Hyman & Leslie A. Martin & Shanthi Nataraj, 2015. "When do Firms Go Green? Comparing Price Incentives with Command and Control Regulations in India," Working Papers WR-1133, RAND Corporation.
    3. Hasan, Rana & Jiang, Yi & Rafols , Radine Michelle, 2017. "Place-Based Preferential Preferential Tax Policy and Its Spatial Effects: Evidence from India’s Program on Industrially Backward Districts," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 524, Asian Development Bank.
    4. Boehm, Johannes & Dhingra, Swati & Morrow, John, 2016. "Swimming upstream: input-output linkages and thedirection of product adoption," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 66418, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Xinshen Diao & Josaphat Kweka & Margaret McMillan, 2016. "Economic Transformation in Africa from the Bottom Up: Evidence from Tanzania," NBER Working Papers 22889, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Sher Singh Verick, 2016. "Manufacturing and jobs: is India different?," The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Springer;The Indian Society of Labour Economics (ISLE), vol. 59(1), pages 57-84, March.
    7. James Tybout, 2014. "The Missing Middle: Correspondence," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 235-236, Fall.
    8. Ghani,Syed Ejaz & Grover,Arti & Kerr,Sari & Kerr,William Robert, 2016. "Will market competition trump gender discrimination in India ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7814, The World Bank.
    9. Caroline Krafft & Reham Rizk, 2018. "The Promise and Peril of Youth Entrepreneurship in MENA," Working Papers 1257, Economic Research Forum, revised 19 Nov 2018.
    10. Geoffrey Barrows & Helene Ollivier, 2016. "Emission intensity and firm dynamics: reallocation, product mix, and technology in India," GRI Working Papers 245, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • L53 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Enterprise Policy
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O25 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Industrial Policy

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