The Performance of Business Group Firms During Institutional Transition: A Longitudinal Study of Indian Firms
SMG Working Paper No. 25/2008
45 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2008
Date Written: July, 29 2008
Question/Issue: Institutional and transaction costs theories highlight the idea that group affiliated firms outperform unaffiliated firms in emerging economies. The persistence of superior performance for group affiliated firms is, however, questioned by the fast and recent development of markets and institutions in these countries. In this article, we explore this link between firm performance and the evolution of institutional environment. Research Findings/Insights: The setting of the empirical investigation is India in the post-reform era (post 1990). We test for effects of business group affiliation on firm performance over a 17 year time period from 1990 to 2006. Our findings show that (i) the performance benefits of group affiliation erode with the evolution of the institutional environment; (ii) older affiliated firms are better able to cope with institutional transition than younger affiliated firms; (iii) service-sector affiliated firms are better able to cope with institutional transition than manufacturing-sector affiliated firms. Theoretical/Academic Implications: Our findings both support the institution - and transaction costs-based theory of business groups, and extends it by incorporating a dynamic and longitudinal component. They also demonstrate - in line with recent works - that the benefits of group membership differ for different types of member firms. Practitioner/Policy Implications: The article has implications for both managers and policy makers. Managers of business groups should timely adapt their strategy to the evolution of the institutional environment. Policy makers should, instead, devote attention to the consequences of their policies because they may undermine the efficiency of large national companies.
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