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The Evolution of Concentrated Ownership in India Broad patterns and a History of the Indian Software Industry

  • Tarun Khann
  • Krishna Palepu
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    As in many countries (Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Sweden), concentrated ownership is a ubiquitous feature of the Indian private sector over the past seven decades. Yet, unlike in most countries, the identity of the primary families responsible for the concentrated ownership changes dramatically over time, perhaps even more than it does in the U.S. during the same time period. It does not appear that concentrated ownership in India is entirely associated with the ills that the literature has recently ascribed to concentrated ownership in emerging markets. If the concentrated owners are not exclusively, or even primarily, engaged in rent-seeking and entry-deterring behavior, concentrated ownership may not be inimical to competition. Indeed, as a response to competition, we argue that at least some Indian families the concentrated owners in question have consistently tried to use their business group structures to launch new ventures. In the process they have either failed hence the turnover in identity or reinvented themselves. Thus concentrated ownership is a result, rather than a cause, of inefficiencies in capital markets. Even in the low capital-intensity, relatively unregulated setting of the Indian software industry, we find that concentrated ownership persists in a privately successful and socially useful way. Since this setting is the least hospitable to the existence of concentrated ownership, we interpret our findings as a lower bound on the persistence of concentrated ownership in the economy at large.

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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10613.

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    Date of creation: Jul 2004
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    Publication status: published as Khanna, Tarun and Krishna G. Palepu. "Globalization and Convergence In Corporate Governance: Evidence From Infosys and The Indian Software Industry," Journal of International Business Studies, 2004, v35(6,Nov), 485-507.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10613
    Note: CF IO
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    1. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 1999. "Reputation Effects and the Limits of Contracting: A Study of the Indian Software Industry," Working papers 99-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    2. Ghemawat, Pankaj & Khanna, Tarun, 1998. "The Nature of Diversified Business Groups: A Research Design and Two Case Studies," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 35-61, March.
    3. Tarun Khanna & Krishna G Palepu, 2004. "Globalization and convergence in corporate governance: evidence from Infosys and the Indian software industry," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 35(6), pages 484-507, November.
    4. Marianne Bertrand & Paras Mehta & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "Ferreting Out Tunneling: An Application To Indian Business Groups," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 121-148, February.
    5. Leff, Nathaniel H, 1978. "Industrial Organization and Entrepreneurship in the Developing Countries: The Economic Groups," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(4), pages 661-75, July.
    6. Arora, Ashish & Athreye, Suma, 2001. "The Software Industry and India's Economic Development," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    7. Suma S. Athreye, 2005. "The Indian software industry and its evolving service capability," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 393-418, June.
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