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Diagnosing development bottlenecks : China and India

  • Li, Wei
  • Mengistae, Taye
  • Xu, Lixin Colin

Although it had a a lower income level than India in 1980, China's 2006 per capita gross domestic product stands more than twice that of India's. This paper investigates the role of the business environment in explaining China's productivity advantage using recent firm-level survey data. The analysis finds that China has better infrastructure, more skilled workers, and more labor-hiring flexibility than India, but a worse access to finance and higher regulatory burden. Infrastructure appears to be a key constraint for India: it lags significantly behind China, yet it has important indirect effects for the effectiveness of labor flexibility. Labor flexibility is also likely a major constraint for India, as evident in the predominance of small firms, the importance of firm size in accounting for India's disadvantage in productivity, and the complementarity of proxies of labor flexibility with infrastructure and access to finance. Interestingly, regulatory uncertainty has adverse effects in India but not in China. The empirical analysis suggests that it is important to consider country-specific growth bottlenecks and the indirect effects of policy reforms.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5641.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5641
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  1. Barry Bosworth & Susan M. Collins, 2008. "Accounting for Growth: Comparing China and India," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 45-66, Winter.
  2. Hallward-Driemeier, Mary & Wallsten, Scott & Lixin Colin Xu, 2003. "The investment climate and the firm : firm-level evidence from China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3003, The World Bank.
  3. Amil Petrin & Jagadeesh Sivadasan, 2006. "Job Security Does Affect Economic Efficiency: Theory, A New Statistic, and Evidence from Chile," NBER Working Papers 12757, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Pandey, Manish & Dong, Xiao-yuan, 2009. "Manufacturing productivity in China and India: The role of institutional changes," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 754-766, December.
  5. Lin, Justin Yifu & Monga, Celestin, 2011. "Growth identification and facilitation : the role of the state in the dynamics of structural change," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5313, The World Bank.
  6. Islam, Nazrul, 1995. "Growth Empirics: A Panel Data Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1127-70, November.
  7. Meghana Ayyagari & Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Vojislav Maksimovic, 2010. "Formal versus Informal Finance: Evidence from China," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(8), pages 3048-3097, August.
  8. Ayyagari, Meghana & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Maksimovic, Vojislav, 2006. "How important are financing constraints ? The role of finance in the business environment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3820, The World Bank.
  9. Ackerberg, Daniel & Caves, Kevin & Frazer, Garth, 2006. "Structural identification of production functions," MPRA Paper 38349, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Cull, Robert & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2000. "Bureaucrats, State Banks, and the Efficiency of Credit Allocation: The Experience of Chinese State-Owned Enterprises," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-31, March.
  11. Berkowitz, Daniel & Li, Wei, 2000. "Tax rights in transition economies: a tragedy of the commons?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 369-397, June.
  12. Wendy Dobson, 2007. "Financial reforms in China and India: A comparative analysis," Working Papers Series 09, Rotman Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
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