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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Jürges, Hendrik / Ludwig, Sandra

Ed. by Auriol , Emmanuelle / Brunner, Johann / Fleck, Robert / Friebel, Guido / Mendola, Mariapia / Requate, Till / Tsui, Kevin / Wichardt, Philipp / Zulehner, Christine

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Barriers to Competition and Productivity: Evidence from India

Jagadeesh Sivadasan1

1University of Michigan - Ann Arbor,

Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy. Volume 9, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1935-1682, DOI: 10.2202/1935-1682.2161, September 2009

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A number of economic theories suggest that barriers to competition lead to higher levels of inefficiency among incumbents. In this paper, we use a detailed plant-level dataset to study the impact on productivity of two reforms (initiated in 1991) aimed at increasing product market competition in India -- liberalization of foreign direct investment (FDI) and reduction in tariff rates. First, we examine the effect of the liberalization policies on mean plant-level productivity in the targeted industries. We find significant increases in productivity in the FDI and tariff-liberalized industries, particularly in the longer term (1993-94). We check and find our results robust to a range of robustness tests. Next, we examine the role of intensive (within-plant productivity growth) and extensive (reallocation from less to more productive plants) margins in the post-reform productivity improvement, and find a predominant role for the former. Finally, we assess potential channels for within-firm productivity improvement. Consistent with a role for price competition, we find evidence of greater declines in output prices as well as concentration measures in the liberalized sectors.

Keywords: competition; efficiency; firm performance; foreign direct investment; trade liberalization; industrial policy

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