Jobless growth? From speculation to statistical analysis
Robert Beyer , Martin Rama
Posted on: 16 Mar 2018
Tags:   South Asia

This column investigates the relationship between economic growth and net job creation in India and South Asia. If economic growth was truly jobless, as is often claimed, labour productivity would be increasing very rapidly. But how real is the alleged joblessness?

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Fostering social connections at the workplace
Farzana Afridi , Amrita Dhillon , Sherry Li , Swati Sharma
Posted on: 16 Mar 2018

This column describes an ongoing study that analyses data from Delhi’s labour-intensive garment factories to explore the relationship between trust among workers and productivity. Using the strength of pre-existing social ties among workers as proxy for the value of trust, it finds that being socially connected has significant implications for worker productivity.

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Riding the energy transition: Oil beyond 2040
Reda Cherif , Fuad Hasanov , Aditya Pande
Posted on: 08 Dec 2017

The motor vehicle was very quick to replace horses in the early 20th century, and the advent of the electric car suggests that another profound shift in transportation and energy could be around the corner. This column projects how different rates of electric car adoption will affect oil demand and consumption over the next three decades. In a fast-adoption scenario, oil prices could converge to the level of current coal prices by the early 2040s. Even under a slow-adoption scenario, oil could become obsolete before it is depleted.
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How the American dream led to India’s IT boom
Gaurav Khanna , Nicolas Morales
Posted on: 29 May 2017

In the context of the ongoing global debate on migration policies, this column shows that the H-1B visa programme of the US had a powerful impact on the US IT sector, and played a prominent role in spreading the boom to India.
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The historical roots of India’s booming service economy
Stephen Broadberry , Bishnupriya Gupta
Posted on: 13 Jan 2017
Tags:   services , UK

India stands out from other emerging economies because its growth has been led by the service sector rather than labour-intensive manufactures. This column summarises recent research showing that India has a long history of strength in services, and its service-led development may play to historical strengths rather than hindering its progress.
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The hidden productivity benefits of energy-saving technology: Evidence from LEDs in Indian factories
Achyuta Adhvaryu , Namrata Kala , Anant Nyshadham
Posted on: 03 Oct 2016

Energy-efficient technologies are an increasingly relevant policy priority, given growing consensus on the need to tackle climate change. This column examines the productivity benefits of adopting one such technology – LED lighting – for manufacturing firms in India. It finds that improved productivity resulting from LED lighting’s lower heat emissions makes adopting such technology far less costly than previous anticipated, particularly for labour-intensive firms in hot climates.
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Analysing worker responses to a contract change
Rajshri Jayaraman , Debraj Ray
Posted on: 08 Aug 2016

Higher-powered incentives are generally believed to increase worker productivity. In the context of an Indian tea plantation, this column examines a contract change wherein baseline wages were increased and incentive piece rates were lowered or kept unchanged. It finds that output increased by 20-80% in the following month but fell to original levels thereafter. Possible explanations for the observed impact are explored.
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Land and financial misallocation in India
Gilles Duranton , Ejaz Ghani , Arti Grover Goswami , William Kerr
Posted on: 20 Jul 2016

Optimising the allocation of factors of production – land, capital and labour - improves productivity. In India, where evidence suggests land is severely misallocated to inefficient manufacturing firms, access to financing is disproportionately tied to access to land. This column examines the link between the misallocation of land and access to capital through financial markets. A very strong positive correlation emerges between the two, consistent with the fact that land and buildings can provide strong collateral support for accessing finance from the credit market.
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Promoting the use of a novel water-saving agricultural technology among Indian farmers
Anil Bhargava , Kajal Gulati , Travis J. Lybbert , Nicholas Magnan , David J. Spielman
Posted on: 28 Apr 2015

The Met Department has forecasted a below-normal monsoon in India this year. This column analyses the demand for a water-saving agricultural technology — laser land levelling — among farmers in Uttar Pradesh. It also discusses how such information can feed into the design of a novel approach to combining public subsidies with private service provision to encourage the technology’s uptake among small-scale, resource-poor farmers.
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How serious are India’s manufacturing skill gaps?
Aashish Mehta
Posted on: 13 Apr 2015

It is widely believed that skill gaps are constraining Indian manufacturing, and closing these gaps has become a national priority. This column argues that the public debate on India’s skill gaps rests on weak conceptual foundations. While some industries do suffer from real skill gaps, others are constrained by commercial difficulties that may be better addressed through policies other than skill development programmes.
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