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

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  • Tarun Khann
  • Krishna Palepu

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Tarun Khann & Krishna Palepu, 2004. "The Evolution of Concentrated Ownership in India Broad patterns and a History of the Indian Software Industry," NBER Working Papers 10613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10613
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Arora, Ashish & Athreye, Suma, 2002. "The software industry and India's economic development," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 253-273, June.
    2. Marianne Bertrand & Paras Mehta & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "Ferreting out Tunneling: An Application to Indian Business Groups," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 121-148.
    3. 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.
    4. 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;Academy of International Business, vol. 35(6), pages 484-507, November.
    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 661-675, July.
    6. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2000. "Reputation Effects and the Limits of Contracting: A Study of the Indian Software Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 989-1017.
    7. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Randall Morck, 2005. "How to Eliminate Pyramidal Business Groups The Double Taxation of Inter-corporate Dividends and other Incisive Uses of Tax Policy," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 19, pages 135-179 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Pal, Sarmistha & Ghosh, Sugata, 2008. "The Elite and the Marginalised: An Analysis of Public Spending on Mass Education in the Indian States," IZA Discussion Papers 3707, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Yeung Horace & Huang Flora Xiao, 2012. "Law and Finance: What Matters? Hong Kong as a Test Case," Asian Journal of Law and Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-30, April.
    4. Krishna Udayasankar & Shobha S. Das, 2007. "Corporate Governance and Firm Performance: the effects of regulation and competitiveness," Corporate Governance: An International Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 262-271, March.
    5. Aldo Musacchio, 2010. "Law and Finance c. 1900," NBER Working Papers 16216, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. L. Alan Winters & Shahid Yusuf, 2007. "Dancing with the Giants: China, India, and the Global Economy," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6632, April.
    7. D'Costa, Anthony P., 2006. "Exports, university-industry linkages, and innovation challenges in Bangalore, India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3887, The World Bank.
    8. Pandey, Rakesh & Vithessonthi, Chaiporn & Mansi, Mansi, 2015. "Busy CEOs and the performance of family firms," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 144-166.
    9. Chari, Anusha & Gupta, Nandini, 2008. "Incumbents and protectionism: The political economy of foreign entry liberalization," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3), pages 633-656, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • N85 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - Asia including Middle East

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