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Learning Versus Stealing: How Important are Market-Share Reallocations to India's Productivity Growth?

  • Ann E. Harrison
  • Leslie A. Martin
  • Shanthi Nataraj

The new trade theory emphasizes the role of market-share reallocations across firms ("stealing") in driving productivity growth, while the older literature focused on average productivity improvements ("learning"). We use comprehensive, firm-level data from India's organized manufacturing sector to show that market-share reallocations did play an important role in aggregate productivity gains immediately following the start of India's trade reforms in 1991. However, aggregate productivity gains during the overall 20-year period from 1985 to 2004 were driven largely by improvements in average productivity. By exploiting the variation in reforms across industries, we document that the average productivity increases can be attributed to India's trade liberalization and FDI reforms. Finally, we construct a panel dataset that allows us to track firms during this time period; our results suggest that while within-firm productivity improvements were important, much of the increase in average productivity also occured because of firm entry and exit.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16733.

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Date of creation: Jan 2011
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Publication status: published as Ann E. Harrison & Leslie A. Martin & Shanthi Nataraj, 2013. "Learning versus Stealing: How Important Are Market-Share Reallocations to India's Productivity Growth?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 27(2), pages 202-228.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16733
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  1. Costas Arkolakis, 2010. "Market Penetration Costs and the New Consumers Margin in International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(6), pages 1151 - 1199.
  2. Antoine Berthou & Lionel Fontagné, 2013. "How do Multiproduct Exporters React to a Change in Trade Costs?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 115(2), pages 326-353, 04.
  3. Petia Topalova, 2004. "Trade Liberalization and Firm Productivity: The Case of India," IMF Working Papers 04/28, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Mary Amiti & Jozef Konings, 2005. "Trade Liberalization, Intermediate Inputs, and Productivity: Evidence From Indonesia," IMF Working Papers 05/146, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Muendler, Marc-Andreas, 2007. "Labor Reallocation in Response to Trade Reform," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt3cm38535, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  6. Eaton, Jonathan & Kortum, Samuel S & Kramarz, Francis, 2009. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence from French Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 7111, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Sivadasan Jagadeesh, 2009. "Barriers to Competition and Productivity: Evidence from India," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-66, September.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Nataraj, Shanthi, 2011. "The impact of trade liberalization on productivity: Evidence from India's formal and informal manufacturing sectors," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 292-301.
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