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Trade Reforms, Labor Regulations and Labor-Demand Elasticities: Empirical Evidence from India

  • Rana Hasan


    (Asian Development Bank)

  • Devashish Mitra


    (Department of Economics, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University)

  • K.V. Ramaswamy



This paper finds a positive impact of trade liberalization on labor-demand elasticities in the Indian manufacturing sector using industry-level data disaggregated by states. These elasticities turn out to be negatively related to protection levels that vary across industries and over time. Furthermore, we find that these elasticities are higher for Indian states with flexible labor regulations where they are also impacted more by trade reforms. Finally, we find that after the reforms, volatility in productivity and output gets translated into larger wage and employment volatility, theoretically a possible consequence of larger labor-demand elasticities.

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Paper provided by East-West Center, Economics Study Area in its series Economics Study Area Working Papers with number 59.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ewc:wpaper:wp59
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  1. Krishna, Pravin & Mitra, Devashish, 1998. "Trade liberalization, market discipline and productivity growth: new evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 447-462, August.
  2. Krishna, Pravin & Mitra, Devashish & Chinoy, Sajjid, 2001. "Trade liberalization and labor demand elasticities: evidence from Turkey," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 391-409, December.
  3. Zvi Griliches & Jerry A. Hausman, 1984. "Errors in Variables in Panel Data," NBER Technical Working Papers 0037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian & Francesco Trebbi, 2004. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 131-165, 06.
  5. Westbrook, M Daniel & Tybout, James R, 1993. "Estimating Returns to Scale with Large, Imperfect Panels: An Application to Chilean Manufacturing Industries," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 7(1), pages 85-112, January.
  6. Ruth Judson & Ann L. Owen, 1997. "Estimating dynamic panel data models: a practical guide for macroeconomists," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1997-3, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Ann Harrison & Gordon Hanson, 1999. "Who Gains from Trade Reform? Some Remaining Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 6915, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Hasan, Rana, 2002. "The impact of imported and domestic technologies on the productivity of firms: panel data evidence from Indian manufacturing firms," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 23-49, October.
  9. Slaughter, Matthew J., 2001. "International trade and labor-demand elasticities," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 27-56, June.
  10. Haskel, Jonathan & Slaughter, Matthew, 1999. "Trade, Technology and UK Wage Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 2091, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2004. "Can Labor Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 91-134.
  12. Harrison, Ann E., 1994. "Productivity, imperfect competition and trade reform : Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-2), pages 53-73, February.
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