India Transformed? Insights from the Firm Level 1988-2005

55 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2009 Last revised: 19 Mar 2021

See all articles by Laura Alfaro

Laura Alfaro

Harvard University

Anusha Chari

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Kenan-Flagler Business School

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Date Written: October 2009

Abstract

Using firm-level data this paper analyzes the transformation of India's economic structure following the implementation of economic reforms. The focus of the study is on publicly-listed and unlisted firms in manufacturing and services industries. Detailed balance sheet and ownership information permit an investigation of a range of variables. We analyze firm characteristics shown by industry before and after liberalization and investigate how industrial concentration, number, and size of firms evolved between 1988 and 2005. We find great dynamism displayed by foreign and private firms as reflected in the growth in their numbers, assets, sales and profits. Yet, closer scrutiny reveals no dramatic transformation in the wake of liberalization. The story rather is one of an economy still dominated by the incumbents (state-owned firms) and to a lesser extent, traditional private firms (firms incorporated before 1985). Sectors dominated by state-owned and traditional private firms before 1988-1990, with assets, sales and profits representing shares higher than 50%, generally remained so in 2005. The exception to this broad pattern is the growing importance of new private firms in the services sector. Rates of return also have remained stable over time and show low dispersion across sectors and across ownership groups within sectors.

Suggested Citation

Alfaro, Laura and Chari, Anusha, India Transformed? Insights from the Firm Level 1988-2005 (October 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w15448, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1498949

Laura Alfaro

Harvard University ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Anusha Chari (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Economics ( email )

Chapel Hill, NC 27599
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Kenan-Flagler Business School

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Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490
United States

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