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

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

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)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 136-62

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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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  1. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Product Substitutability and Productivity Dispersion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 534-550, May.
  2. Tybout, James & de Melo, Jaime & Corbo, Vittorio, 1990. "The effects of trade reforms on scale and technical efficiency : new evidence from Chile," Policy Research Working Paper Series 481, The World Bank.
  3. 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.
  4. Sanghamitra Das & Kala Krishna & Sergey Lychagin & Rohini Somanathan, 2010. "Back on the Rails: Competition and Productivity in State-owned Industry," NBER Working Papers 15976, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. José E. Galdón-Sánchez & James A. Schmitz Jr., 2002. "Competitive Pressure and Labor Productivity: World Iron-Ore Markets in the 1980's," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1222-1235, September.
  6. Stephen Nickell, 1993. "Competition and Corporate Performance," CEP Discussion Papers dp0182, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. Chang, Tai Hsieh & Peter, J- Klenow, 2007. "Misallocation and manufacturing TFP in China and India," MPRA Paper 35084, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 15 Jun 2007.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 958-76, October.
  10. James A. Schmitz, 2005. "What determines productivity? lessons from the dramatic recovery of the U.S. and Canadian iron-ore industries following their early 1980s crisis," Staff Report 286, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:1:p:83-116 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Chad Syverson, 2010. "What Determines Productivity?," NBER Working Papers 15712, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. 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 619-23, May.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
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