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Diagnosing Development Bottlenecks: China and India

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  • Wei Li
  • Taye Mengistae
  • Lixin Colin Xu

Abstract

Although it had a a lower income level than India in 1980, China's 2006 per capita gross domestic product stands more than twice that of India's. This paper investigates the role of the business environment in explaining China's productivity advantage using recent firm-level survey data. The analysis finds that China has better infrastructure, more skilled workers, and more labor-hiring flexibility than India, but a worse access to finance and higher regulatory burden. Infrastructure appears to be a key constraint for India: it lags significantly behind China, yet it has important indirect effects for the effectiveness of labor flexibility. Labor flexibility is also likely a major constraint for India, as evident in the predominance of small firms, the importance of firm size in accounting for India's disadvantage in productivity, and the complementarity of proxies of labor flexibility with infrastructure and access to finance. Interestingly, regulatory uncertainty has adverse effects in India but not in China. The empirical analysis suggests that it is important to consider country-specific growth bottlenecks and the indirect effects of policy reforms.
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Suggested Citation

  • Wei Li & Taye Mengistae & Lixin Colin Xu, 2011. "Diagnosing Development Bottlenecks: China and India," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 73, pages 722-752, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:obuest:v:73:y:2011:i::p:722-752
    DOI: j.1468-0084.2011.00676.x
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    1. Cull, Robert & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2000. "Bureaucrats, State Banks, and the Efficiency of Credit Allocation: The Experience of Chinese State-Owned Enterprises," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-31, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Harrison, Ann E. & Lin, Justin Yifu & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2014. "Explaining Africa’s (Dis)advantage," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 59-77.
    2. Chris Nyland & Charmine E.J. Härtel & Thin Vu & Cherrie Jiuhua Zhu, 2015. "Hospital Numerical Flexibility and Nurse Economic Security in China and India," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 53(1), pages 136-158, March.
    3. Nurullah Gur, 2012. "Financial Constraints, Quality of Institutions and Firm Size: What Do Perceptions Tell Us?," Eurasian Economic Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 2(2), pages 17-36, December.

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