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In with the Big, Out with the Small: Removing Small-Scale Reservations in India

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  • Leslie A. Martin
  • Shanthi Nataraj
  • Ann Harrison

Abstract

An ongoing debate in employment policy is whether promoting small and medium enterprises creates more employment. Do small enterprises generate more employment growth than larger firms? We use the elimination of small-scale industry (SSI) promotion in India to address this question. For 60 years, SSI promotion in India focused on reserving certain products for manufacture by small and medium establishments. We identify the consequences for employment growth, investment, output, productivity, and wages of dismantling India’s SSI reservations. We exploit variation in the timing of de-reservation across products; our identification strategy is also robust to measuring the long-run impact of national SSI policy changes using variation in pre-treatment exposure at the district level, and to conducting placebo tests using products that were never de-reserved. Districts more exposed to de-reservation experienced higher employment and wage growth. The results suggest that promoting employment growth in the Indian case was not achieved via SSI reservation policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Leslie A. Martin & Shanthi Nataraj & Ann Harrison, 2014. "In with the Big, Out with the Small: Removing Small-Scale Reservations in India," NBER Working Papers 19942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19942
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    1. repec:oup:wbrobs:v:32:y:2017:i:2:p:127-154. is not listed on IDEAS
    2. David McKenzie, 2017. "How Effective Are Active Labor Market Policies in Developing Countries? A Critical Review of Recent Evidence," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 32(2), pages 127-154.
    3. Geoffrey Barrows & Helene Ollivier, 2016. "Emission intensity and firm dynamics: reallocation, product mix, and technology in India," GRI Working Papers 245, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    4. Xinshen Diao & Josaphat Kweka & Margaret McMillan, 2016. "Economic Transformation in Africa from the Bottom Up: Evidence from Tanzania," NBER Working Papers 22889, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Boehm, Johannes & Dhingra, Swati & Morrow, John, 2016. "Swimming upstream: input-output linkages and thedirection of product adoption," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 66418, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Ghani,Syed Ejaz & Grover,Arti & Kerr,Sari & Kerr,William Robert, 2016. "Will market competition trump gender discrimination in India ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7814, The World Bank.
    7. Ann Harrison & Benjamin Hyman & Leslie Martin & Shanthi Nataraj, 2015. "When do Firms Go Green? Comparing Price Incentives with Command and Control Regulations in India," NBER Working Papers 21763, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. James Tybout, 2014. "The Missing Middle: Correspondence," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 235-236, Fall.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O25 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Industrial Policy
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy

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