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Back on the Rails: Competition and Productivity in State-Owned Industry

Author

Listed:
  • Sanghamitra Das
  • Kala Krishna
  • Sergey Lychagin
  • Rohini Somanathan

Abstract

We use a proprietary dataset on the floor-level operations at the largest rail mill in India to study the response of productivity to the threat of entry. Output per active shift increased by 28 percent over 3 years with minimal changes in physical capital and employment. By combining data on the timing of various training programs in the mill with shift-level variation in worker composition, we are able to attribute over half of the higher productivity to training specifically targeted toward improving rail output. Our work suggests high returns to knowledge-enhancing investment in emerging economies. (JEL D22, D24, J24, L23, L32, L61, O14)

Suggested Citation

  • Sanghamitra Das & Kala Krishna & Sergey Lychagin & Rohini Somanathan, 2013. "Back on the Rails: Competition and Productivity in State-Owned Industry," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 136-162, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:5:y:2013:i:1:p:136-62
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.5.1.136
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sanghamitra Das & Kala Krishna & Sergey Lychagin & Rohini Somanathan, 2013. "Back on the Rails: Competition and Productivity in State-Owned Industry," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 136-162, January.
    2. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    3. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Product Substitutability and Productivity Dispersion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 534-550, May.
    4. Sanghamitra Das & Ramprasad Sengupta, 2004. "Projection pursuit regression and disaggregate productivity effects: the case of the Indian blast furnaces," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(3), pages 397-418.
    5. Jose E. Galdon Sanchez & James A. Schmitz, 2003. "Competitive pressure and labor productivity: world iron ore markets in the 1980s," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 9-23.
    6. Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2007. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1351-1408.
    7. Nickell, Stephen J, 1996. "Competition and Corporate Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 724-746, August.
    8. Timothy Dunne & Shawn Klimek & James Schmitz, Jr., 2010. "Competition and Productivity: Evidence from the Post WWII U.S. Cement Industry," Working Papers 10-29, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    9. James A. Schmitz Jr., 2005. "What Determines Productivity? Lessons from the Dramatic Recovery of the U.S. and Canadian Iron Ore Industries Following Their Early 1980s Crisis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 582-625, June.
    10. Caves, Douglas W & Christensen, Laurits R, 1980. "The Relative Efficiency of Public and Private Firms in a Competitive Environment: The Case of Canadian Railroads," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(5), pages 958-976, October.
    11. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2009. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1403-1448.
    12. Chad Syverson, 2011. "What Determines Productivity?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 326-365, June.
    13. Tybout, James & de Melo, Jamie & Corbo, Vittorio, 1991. "The effects of trade reforms on scale and technical efficiency : New evidence from Chile," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3-4), pages 231-250, November.
    14. Francisco Rodriguez & Dani Rodrik, 1999. "Trade Policy and Economic Growth: A Skeptic's Guide to Cross-National Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7081, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Nicholas Bloom & Aprajit Mahajan & David McKenzie & John Roberts, 2010. "Why Do Firms in Developing Countries Have Low Productivity?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 619-623, May.
    16. Bridgman, Benjamin & Gomes, Victor & Teixeira, Arilton, 2011. "Threatening to Increase Productivity: Evidence from Brazil's Oil Industry," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(8), pages 1372-1385, August.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List & Chad Syverson, 2013. "Toward an Understanding of Learning by Doing: Evidence from an Automobile Assembly Plant," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 121(4), pages 643-681.
    2. Andreas Menzel, 2017. "Knowledge Exchange and Productivity Spill-overs in Bangladeshi Garment Factories," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp607, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    3. E. Somanathan & Rohini Somanathan & Anant Sudarsan & Meenu Tewari, 2014. "The Impact of Temperature on Productivity and Labor Supply: Evidence from Indian Manufacturing," Working Papers id:6308, eSocialSciences.
    4. Peter Slade & Getu Hailu, 2016. "Efficiency and regulation: a comparison of dairy farms in Ontario and New York State," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 103-115, February.
    5. Sanghamitra Das & Kala Krishna & Sergey Lychagin & Rohini Somanathan, 2013. "Back on the Rails: Competition and Productivity in State-Owned Industry," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 136-162, January.
    6. Ana Cecília Fieler & Marcela Eslava & Daniel Xu, 2014. "Trade, Skills, and Quality Upgrading: A Theory with Evidence from Colombia," NBER Working Papers 19992, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • L32 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Public Enterprises; Public-Private Enterprises
    • L61 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Metals and Metal Products; Cement; Glass; Ceramics
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology

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