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India Transformed? Insights from the Firm Level 1988-2005

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  • Laura Alfaro

    () (Harvard Business School, Business, Government and the International Economy Unit)

  • Anusha Chari

    () (Department of Economics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Abstract

Using firm-level data this paper analyzes, the transformation of India's economic structure following the implementation of economic reforms. The focus of the study is on publicly-listed and unlisted firms from across a wide spectrum of manufacturing and services industries and ownership structures such as state-owned firms, business groups, private and foreign firms. Detailed balance sheet and ownership information permit an investigation of a range of variables such as sales, profitability, and assets. Here we analyze firm characteristics shown by industry before and after liberalization and investigate how industrial concentration, the number, and size of firms of the ownership type evolved between 1988 and 2005. We find great dynamism displayed by foreign and private firms as reflected in the growth in their numbers, assets, sales and profits. Yet, closer scrutiny reveals no dramatic transformation in the wake of liberalization. The story rather is one of an economy still dominated by the incumbents (state-owned firms) and to a lesser extent, traditional private firms (firms incorporated before 1985). Sectors dominated by state-owned and traditional private firms before 1988-1990, with assets, sales and profits representing shares higher than 50%, generally remained so in 2005. The exception to this broad pattern is the growing importance of new and large private firms in the services sector. Rates of return also have remained stable over time and show low dispersion across sectors and across ownership groups within sectors.

Suggested Citation

  • Laura Alfaro & Anusha Chari, 2009. "India Transformed? Insights from the Firm Level 1988-2005," Harvard Business School Working Papers 10-030, Harvard Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:hbs:wpaper:10-030
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    Cited by:

    1. Maria Bas & Antoine Berthou, 2012. "The Unequal Effects of Financial Development on Firms' Growth in India," Working Papers 2012-22, CEPII research center.
    2. Maria Bas & Antoine Berthou, 2017. "Does Input-Trade Liberalization Affect Firms’ Foreign Technology Choice?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 31(2), pages 351-384.
    3. Sharma, Supriya, 2012. "Organizational Transformation in India: Developing a Typology," IIMA Working Papers WP2012-11-01, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
    4. Aradhna Aggarwal & Takahiro Sato, 2011. "Firm Dynamics and Productivity Growth in Indian Manufacturing: Evidence from Plant Level Panel Dataset," Discussion Paper Series DP2011-07, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
    5. Leslie A. Martin & Shanthi Nataraj & Ann E. Harrison, 2017. "In with the Big, Out with the Small: Removing Small-Scale Reservations in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(2), pages 354-386, February.
    6. repec:eee:jebusi:v:95:y:2018:i:c:p:3-25 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Michael Keren, 2009. "China and India - a Note on the Influence of Hierarchy vs. Polyarchy on Economic Growth," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 6(2), pages 325-346, December.
    8. Albert Bollard & Peter Klenow & Gunjam Sharma, 2013. "India's Mysterious Manufacturing Miracle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 59-85, January.
    9. repec:taf:ijecbs:v:24:y:2017:i:2:p:131-151 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Laura Alfaro & Anusha Chari, 2010. "Does Liberalization Promote Competition?," Working Papers 1112, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, revised Oct 2010.
    11. Michael Walton & Anusha Nath & Ashoka Mody, 2011. "Sources of Corporate Profits in India; Business Dynamism or Advantages of Entrenchment?," IMF Working Papers 11/8, International Monetary Fund.
    12. Maria Bas, 2013. "Does Services Liberalization Affect Manufacturing Firms' Export Performance? Evidence from India," Working Papers 2013-17, CEPII research center.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General

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