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Trade Liberalization and Firm Productivity; The Case of India

  • Petia Topalova

Using a panel of firm-level data, this paper examines the effects of India's trade reforms in the early 1990s on firm productivity in the manufacturing sector, focusing on the interaction between this policy shock and firm and environment characteristics. The rapid and comprehensive tariff reductions-part of an IMF-supported adjustment program with India in 1991-allow us to establish a causal link between variations in inter-industry and intertemporal tariffs and consistently estimated firm productivity. Specifically, reductions in trade protectionism lead to higher levels and growth of firm productivity, with this effect strongest for private companies. Interestingly, state-level characteristics, such as labor regulations, investment climate, and financial development, do not appear to influence the effect of trade liberalization on firm productivity.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 04/28.

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Length: 38
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:04/28
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  1. Nina Pavcnik, 2002. "Trade Liberalization, Exit, and Productivity Improvements: Evidence from Chilean Plants," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 245-276.
  2. G. Steven Olley & Ariel Pakes, 1992. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," NBER Working Papers 3977, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2002. "Can labour regulation hinder economic performance? Evidence from India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3779, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Rana Hasan & Devashish Mitra & K.V. Ramaswamy, 2003. "Trade Reforms, Labor Regulations and Labor-Demand Elasticities: Empirical Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 9879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Bulent Unel, 2003. "Productivity Trends in India's Manufacturing Sectors in the Last Two Decades," IMF Working Papers 03/22, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Epifani, Paolo, 2003. "Trade liberalization, firm performance, and labor market outcomes in the developing world : what can we learn from micro-level data?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3063, The World Bank.
  8. James R. Tybout, 2001. "Plant- and Firm-Level Evidence on "New" Trade Theories," NBER Working Papers 8418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Fernandes, Ana M., 2007. "Trade policy, trade volumes and plant-level productivity in Colombian manufacturing industries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 52-71, March.
  10. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  11. Aw, Bee Yan & Chen, Xiaomin & Roberts, Mark J., 2001. "Firm-level evidence on productivity differentials and turnover in Taiwanese manufacturing," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 51-86, October.
  12. Tybout, James R. & Westbrook, M. Daniel, 1995. "Trade liberalization and the dimensions of efficiency change in Mexican manufacturing industries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1-2), pages 53-78, August.
  13. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2000. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," NBER Working Papers 7819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Tybout, James & de Melo, Jamie & Corbo, Vittorio, 1991. "The effects of trade reforms on scale and technical efficiency : New evidence from Chile," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3-4), pages 231-250, November.
  15. 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.
  16. Young, Alwyn, 1991. "Learning by Doing and the Dynamic Effects of International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 369-405, May.
  17. 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.
  18. F. Zilibotti & P. Aghion & R. Burgess, 2004. "The Unequal Effects of Trade Liberalization: Theory and Evidence from India," 2004 Meeting Papers 40, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  19. Alwyn Young, 1991. "Learning by Doing and the Dynamic Effects of International Trade," NBER Working Papers 3577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2001. "Trade Protection and Wages: Evidence from the Colombian Trade Reforms," NBER Working Papers 8575, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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