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The Service Sector as India’s Road to Economic Growth?

Author

Listed:
  • Barry Eichengreen

    (Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations)

  • Poonam Gupta

Abstract

Among fast growing developing countries, India is distinctive for the role of the service sector. However, sceptics have raised doubts about both the quality and sustainability of the increase in service sector activity and its implications for economic development. Using National Accounts Statistics and cross-county data, we show that the growth of services has been broad-based. We show that the growth of service sector employment is not simply disguised manufacturing activity. We also find that the skilled-unskilled mix of labour in the two sectors is becoming increasingly similar. Hence, it is no longer obvious that manufacturing is the main destination for the vast majority of Indian labour moving into the modern sector and that modern services are only a viable destination for the highly skilled few. To the extent that the expansion of both modern manufacturing and modern services is constrained by the availability of skilled labour, this just underscores the importance for India of continuing to invest in labour skills. We conclude that sustaining economic growth and raising living standards will require shifting labour out of agriculture into both manufacturing and services and not just into one or the other.

Suggested Citation

  • Barry Eichengreen & Poonam Gupta, 2010. "The Service Sector as India’s Road to Economic Growth?," Development Economics Working Papers 23030, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:eab:develo:23030
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    File URL: http://www.eaber.org/node/23030
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Devesh Kapur & Pratap Bhanu Mehta, 2004. "Indian Higher Education Reform: From Half-Baked Socialism to Half-Baked Capitalism," CID Working Papers 108, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    2. Kochhar, Kalpana & Kumar, Utsav & Rajan, Raghuram & Subramanian, Arvind & Tokatlidis, Ioannis, 2006. "India's pattern of development: What happened, what follows?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(5), pages 981-1019, July.
    3. Barry Bosworth & Susan M. Collins & Arvind Virmani, 2006. "Sources of Growth in the Indian Economy," India Policy Forum, Global Economy and Development Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 3(1), pages 1-69.
    4. Cain, J. Salcedo & Hasan, Rana & Magsombol, Rhoda & Tandon, Ajay, 2010. "Accounting for Inequality in India: Evidence from Household Expenditures," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 282-297, March.
    5. Poonam Gupta & James P. F. Gordon, 2004. "Understanding India’s Services Revolution," IMF Working Papers 04/171, International Monetary Fund.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Felipe, Jesus & Kumar, Utsav & Abdon, Arnelyn, 2013. "Exports, capabilities, and industrial policy in India," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 939-956.
    2. Shingal, ANIRUDH, 2010. "Services growth and convergence: Getting India’s states together," MPRA Paper 32813, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Utsav Kumar, 2014. "India's Demographic Transition: Boon or Bane?," Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 186-203, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Services; Growth; Structural change; India; Employment;

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology

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