IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Determinants of firm-level export performance: a case study of Indian textile garments and apparel industry


  • T. A. Bhavani
  • Suresh Tendulkar


Drawing on international trade and industrial organisation theories, this paper identifies variables affecting (a) the export decision function, i.e. to export or sell in domestic market, and (b) the export performance function, i.e. the share of exports in output. These functions are estimated for Garment and Apparel producing units in Delhi. The form of business organisation, reflecting access to capital, turns out to be a key determinant in both functions. The estimated marginal impact of identified variables (scale and share of sales expenses) on the probability of exporting in an estimated Probit model declines sharply when moving from single proprietorship to partnership and on to limited companies. On the other hand, every single determinant (scale, share of wages, share of sales expenses and technical efficiency) has been found to have an increasing marginal impact on export performance in an estimated Tobit model when moving across the three forms of business organisation. Empirical results suggest two policy changes to boost export performance. First, given the importance of scale for exports, the existing policy of reserving garments and apparel for exclusive production in small-scale units needs to be scrapped. Simultaneously, it is also necessary to amend current labour legislation applicable to large-scale factory units, as it introduces labour market inflexibility and hence serves as an impediment to the expansion of existing units and the entry of new units.

Suggested Citation

  • T. A. Bhavani & Suresh Tendulkar, 2001. "Determinants of firm-level export performance: a case study of Indian textile garments and apparel industry," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(1), pages 65-92.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jitecd:v:10:y:2001:i:1:p:65-92 DOI: 10.1080/09638190122431

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kravis, Irving B, 1970. "Trade as a Handmaiden of Growth: Similarities between the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 80(323), pages 850-872, December.
    2. Krugman, Paul R., 1989. "Industrial organization and international trade," Handbook of Industrial Organization,in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 20, pages 1179-1223 Elsevier.
    3. Carr, Jack L & Mathewson, G Frank, 1988. "Unlimited Liability as a Barrier to Entry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 766-784, August.
    4. Jones, Ronald W. & Peter Neary, J., 1984. "The positive theory of international trade," Handbook of International Economics,in: R. W. Jones & P. B. Kenen (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 1-62 Elsevier.
    5. Suresh D. Tendulkar & T. A. Bhavani, 1997. "Policy on Modern Small Scale Industries: A Case of Government Failure," Indian Economic Review, Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, vol. 32(1), pages 39-64, January.
    6. Fuss, Melvyn & McFadden, Daniel & Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "A Survey of Functional Forms in the Economic Analysis of Production," Histoy of Economic Thought Chapters,in: Fuss, Melvyn & McFadden, Daniel (ed.), Production Economics: A Dual Approach to Theory and Applications, volume 1, chapter 4 McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought.
    7. Jondrow, James & Knox Lovell, C. A. & Materov, Ivan S. & Schmidt, Peter, 1982. "On the estimation of technical inefficiency in the stochastic frontier production function model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2-3), pages 233-238, August.
    8. Fried, Harold O. & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Shelton S. (ed.), 1993. "The Measurement of Productive Efficiency: Techniques and Applications," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195072181, June.
    9. Yeats, Alexander J., 1990. "What do alternative measures of comparative advantage reveal about the composition of developing countries'exports?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 470, The World Bank.
    10. Egan, Mary Lou & Mody, Ashoka, 1992. "Buyer-seller links in export development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 321-334, March.
    11. Forsund, Finn R. & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Peter, 1980. "A survey of frontier production functions and of their relationship to efficiency measurement," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 5-25, May.
    12. Bhagwati, Jagdish N, 1988. "Export-Promoting Trade Strategy: Issues and Evidence," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 3(1), pages 27-57, January.
    13. Suresh D. Tendulkar & T. A. Bhavani, 1997. "Policy On Modem Small Scale Industries: A Case Of Government Failure," Working papers 44, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:jitecd:v:10:y:2001:i:1:p:65-92. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.