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Learning versus Stealing: How Important Are Market-Share Reallocations to India's Productivity Growth?

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

Recent trade theory emphasizes the role of market-share reallocations across firms (“stealing”) in driving productivity growth, whereas previous literature focused on average productivity improvements (“learning”). We use comprehensive, firm-level data from India's organized manufacturing sector to show that market-share reallocations were briefly relevant to explain aggregate productivity gains following the beginning of India's trade reforms in 1991. However, aggregate productivity gains during the period from 1985 to 2004 were largely driven by improvements in average productivity. We show that India's trade, FDI, and licensing reforms are not associated with productivity gains stemming from market share reallocations. Instead, we find that most of the productivity improvements in Indian manufacturing occurred through “learning” and that this learning was linked to the reforms. In the Indian case, the evidence rejects the notion that market share reallocations are the mechanism through which trade reform increases aggregate productivity. Although a plausible response would be that India's labor laws do not easily permit market share reallocations, we show that restrictions on labor mobility cannot explain our results. Copyright 2013, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 27 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 202-228

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:27:y:2013:i:2:p:202-228
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  1. Mary Amiti & Jozef Konings, 2005. "Trade Liberalization, Intermediate Inputs, and Productivity; Evidence From Indonesia," IMF Working Papers 05/146, International Monetary Fund.
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  9. Muendler, Marc-Andreas, 2007. "Labor Reallocation in Response to Trade Reform," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt3cm38535, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  10. Costas Arkolakis, 2008. "Market Penetration Costs and the New Consumers Margin in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 14214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Sivadasan Jagadeesh, 2009. "Barriers to Competition and Productivity: Evidence from India," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-66, September.
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