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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. Mary Amiti & Jozef G Konings, 2005. "Trade Liberalization, Intermediate Inputs, and Productivity; Evidence from Indonesia," IMF Working Papers 05/146, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Francis Kramarz & Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2005. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence from French Firms," 2005 Meeting Papers 197, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  8. 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.
  9. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2004. "Can Labor Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 91-134.
  10. 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.
  11. Petia Topalova & Amit Khandelwal, 2011. "Trade Liberalization and Firm Productivity: The Case of India," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 995-1009, August.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
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