Did removing small-scale reservations in India work?

Leslie Martin, Shanthi Nataraj, and Ann Harrison look at this policy change in the 1990s.

Large number of products were reserved for Small scale sector in India. This was resreserved in 1990s. What was the impact of this policy change?

For the past 60 years, India has promoted small-scale industries (SSI). Industrial promotion took the form of reserving certain products for manufacture by small and medium firms. The stated goal of Indian policy makers was to promote employment growth and income redistribution. In this paper, we use a new version of the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) that allows us to follow plants over time and examine whether small factories in India exhibit faster employment growth than larger factories.  

We find that, as in the United States, larger, younger factories grow more quickly and create more jobs than smaller, older factories.

We then exploit the fact that India eliminated SSI reservations for more than half of all reserved products between 1997 and 2007 to identify the consequences of removing these policies. We find that districts more exposed to the de-reservation experienced higher employment and wage growth than those that were less exposed. These effects are driven by the growth of factories that moved into the de-reserved product space, whose expansion more than compensated for the shrinking of smaller, incumbent firms.

Hmm.. interesting paper looking at different experiment. Though , much of the findings are on expected lines…


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