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Industrial de-licensing, trade liberalization, and skill upgrading in India

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  • Chamarbagwala, Rubiana
  • Sharma, Gunjan

Abstract

We investigate the relationship between industrial de-licensing, trade liberalization, and skill upgrading during the 1980s and 1990s among manufacturing plants in India. We use a unique dataset on India's industrial licensing regime to test whether industrial de-licensing during the 1980s and 1990s played a role in skill upgrading, as measured by the employment and wagebill shares of white-collar workers. In addition, we assess the relative contribution of industrial de-licensing and trade liberalization to skill upgrading. We identify two main channels through which industrial de-licensing affects skill upgrading: capital- and output-skill complementarities. Using both difference-in-differences as well as regression discontinuity techniques, we find two important results. First, after controlling for the size-based exemption rule that determined whether or not a plant faced licensing restrictions, industrial de-licensing during the 1980s appears to have increased the relative demand for skilled workers via capital- and output-skill complementarities. Capital- and output-skill complementarities exist for plants in both licensed and de-licensed industries but were stronger in de-licensed industries during the 1980s, prior to India's massive trade liberalization reforms in 1991. Second, regardless of de-licensing, capital- and output-skill complementarities are generally weaker after trade was liberalized during the early 1990s. Together, capital- and output-skill complementarities contributed 75% (57%) and 31% (29%), respectively, of the growth in the employment and wagebill shares of white-collar workers in de-licensed (licensed) industries before trade was liberalized. After trade liberalization, these contributions were smaller. This suggests that trade liberalization may not have played a major role in raising the relative demand for skilled labor during the early 1990s.

Suggested Citation

  • Chamarbagwala, Rubiana & Sharma, Gunjan, 2011. "Industrial de-licensing, trade liberalization, and skill upgrading in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 314-336, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:96:y:2011:i:2:p:314-336
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Laura Alfaro & Anusha Chari, 2014. "Deregulation, Misallocation, and Size: Evidence from India," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(4), pages 897-936.
    2. Jain, Tarun & Maitra, Pushkar & Mani, Subha, 2016. "Barriers to Skill Acquisition: Evidence from English Training in India," IZA Discussion Papers 10199, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Albert Bollard & Peter Klenow & Gunjam Sharma, 2013. "India's Mysterious Manufacturing Miracle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 59-85, January.
    4. repec:eee:iburev:v:26:y:2017:i:6:p:1034-1050 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Albert Bollard & Peter Klenow & Gunjam Sharma, 2013. "India's Mysterious Manufacturing Miracle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 59-85, January.
    6. Prabal De & Priya Nagaraj, 2014. "Productivity and firm size in India," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 42(4), pages 891-907, April.
    7. Mallick, Sushanta & Marques, Helena, 2016. "Pricing strategy of emerging market exporters in alternate currency regimes: The role of comparative advantage," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 68-81.
    8. Seker, Murat, 2011. "Effects of licensing reform on firm innovation : evidence from India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5876, The World Bank.
    9. Alok Johri & Md Mahbubur Rahman, 2017. "The Rise and Fall of India's Relative Investment Price: A Tale of Policy Error and Reform," Department of Economics Working Papers 2017-12, McMaster University, revised 03 Oct 2017.
    10. Ghosh, Saibal, 2013. "Do economic reforms matter for manufacturing productivity? Evidence from the Indian experience," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 723-733.
    11. Alessandrini, Michele & Fattouh, Bassam & Ferrarini, Benno & Scaramozzino, Pasquale, 2011. "Tariff liberalization and trade specialization: Lessons from India," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 499-513.
    12. Fernandes, Ana M. & Sharma, Gunjan, 2012. "Together we stand ? agglomeration in Indian manufacturing," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6062, The World Bank.
    13. Seker, Murat & Ulu, Mehmet Fatih, 2017. "Effects of Licensing Reform on Firm Innovation: Evidence from India," MPRA Paper 80382, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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