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Quality Certification and the Economics of Contract Software Development A Study of the Indian Software Industry


  • Ashish Arora
  • Jai Asundi


A significant amount of software development is being outsourced to countries such as India. Many Indian software firms have applied for and received quality certifications like the ISO9001, and the number of quality certified software firms has steadily increased. Despite its growing popularity among Indian software developers, there is very little systematic evidence on the relationship of ISO certification to organizational performance. Using data on 95 Indian software firms and their US clients, we develop a stylized model of a firm that develops software for others to articulate the different ways in which ISO certification can affect firm profits. We conclude that ISO certification enhances firm growth. The results provide partial support for the proposition that ISO certification also enhances revenue for a given size, suggesting that firms are receiving a higher price per unit of output. In turn, this is consistent with the notion that ISO certification also enhances the quality of output. Our field studies confirm that although most firms see ISO certification as a marketing ploy, some of them do proceed to institute more systematic and better-defined processes for software development.

Suggested Citation

  • Ashish Arora & Jai Asundi, 1999. "Quality Certification and the Economics of Contract Software Development A Study of the Indian Software Industry," NBER Working Papers 7260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7260
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    Cited by:

    1. Paunov, Caroline, 2016. "Corruption's asymmetric impacts on firm innovation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 216-231.
    2. Joseph, K.J., 2002. "Growth of ICT and ICT for Development: Realities of the Myths of the Indian Experience," WIDER Working Paper Series 078, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. repec:wsi:serxxx:v:54:y:2009:i:03:n:s0217590809003392 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Ghosh, Saibal, 2009. "Productivity and Financial Structure: Evidence from Indian High-Tech Firms," MPRA Paper 19467, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Qiu, Larry D., 2006. "A general equilibrium analysis of software development: Implications of copyright protection and contract enforcement," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(7), pages 1661-1682, October.
    6. Francis Xavier Rathinam, 2008. "Determinants of Inter-Firm Contractual Relations: A Case of Indian Software Industry," The IUP Journal of Financial Economics, IUP Publications, vol. 0(4), pages 73-85, December.
    7. Upadhyayula, Rajesh S. & Dhandapani, Karthik & Karna, Amit, 2017. "The Role of Cluster Presence and Quality Certification in Internationalization and Performance of Offshore Service Providers," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 72-86.
    8. Alfonso Gambardella & Myriam Mariani & Salvatore Torrisi, 2001. "How Provincial is your Region? Effects on Labour Productivity and Employment in Europe," LEM Papers Series 2001/04, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    9. K.J. Joseph & K.N. Harilal, 2001. "India's IT export boom: Challenges ahead," Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum Working Papers 317, Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum, India.
    10. Patibandla, Murali & Petersen, Bent, 2001. "Role of Transnational Corporations in the Evolution of a high-tech Industry: The Case of India’s Software Industry," Working Papers 5-2001, Copenhagen Business School, Department of International Economics and Management.
    11. Manning, Stephan, 2013. "New Silicon Valleys or a new species? Commoditization of knowledge work and the rise of knowledge services clusters," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 379-390.
    12. Paulo G. Correa & Ana M. Fernandes & Chris J. Uregian, 2010. "Technology Adoption and the Investment Climate: Firm-Level Evidence for Eastern Europe and Central Asia," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 24(1), pages 121-147, January.
    13. Arti Grover, 2007. "International Outsourcing and the Supply Side Productivity Determinants," CESifo Working Paper Series 2088, CESifo Group Munich.
    14. Balaji Parthasarathy, 2004. "India's Silicon Valley or Silicon Valley's India? Socially Embedding the Computer Software Industry in Bangalore," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(3), pages 664-685, September.
    15. Upadhyayula, Rajesh & Karthik, D. & Karna, Amit, 2015. "Role of Clusters and Certification in the Internationalization of Offshoring Service Providers from Emerging Markets: A Study of Indian IT firms," IIMA Working Papers WP2015-03-35, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
    16. Lamin, Anna & Dunlap, Denise, 2011. "Complex technological capabilities in emerging economy firms: The role of organizational relationships," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 211-228, September.

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