IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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


  • Barry Eichengreen


  • Poonam Gupta



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.[Working Paper No. 249]

Suggested Citation

  • Barry Eichengreen & Poonam Gupta, 2010. "The Service Sector as India’s Road to Economic Growth?," Working Papers id:2604, eSocialSciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:2604
    Note: Institutional Papers

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barry Eichengreen & Poonam Gupta, 2013. "The two waves of service-sector growth," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(1), pages 96-123, January.
    2. Panagariya, Arvind, 2011. "India: The Emerging Giant," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199751563, June.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. J. Bradford Jensen & Lori G. Kletzer, 2005. "Tradable Services: Understanding the Scope and Impact of Services Outsourcing," Working Paper Series WP05-9, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    6. Rashmi Banga & B.N.Goldar, 2004. "Contribution of services to output growth and productivity in Indian manufacturing: Pre and post reforms," Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, New Delhi Working Papers 139, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, New Delhi, India.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Shingal, ANIRUDH, 2010. "Services growth and convergence: Getting India’s states together," MPRA Paper 32813, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:ess:wpaper:id:2604. 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: (Padma Prakash). 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.