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William Kerr Ideas for India

William Kerr
Harvard Business School
wkerr@hbs.edu
William Kerr is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Business School. His research and teaching focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. One research strand examines the role of immigrant scientists and entrepreneurs in US technology development, as well as the subsequent diffusion of new innovations to the immigrants’ home countries. A second research strand considers agglomeration and entrepreneurship, with special interest in how government policies aid or hinder the entry of new firms. His final research interest is entrepreneurial finance and angel investments. He received his PhD from MIT in 2005.
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Articles By William Kerr
Land and financial misallocation in India
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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India’s energy efficiency
Posted On: 10 Nov 2015


India is the fourth largest energy consumer in the world but is not well endowed with energy resources, making efficiency in energy use very important. This column analyses the spatial dynamics of electricity usage in India’s manufacturing sector. Such an understanding can help in defining a more focused and targeted energy policy.
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Rise of informality in India’s tradable manufacturing sector
Posted On: 13 Jul 2015

Topics:   Jobs

The vast informal sector in India affects everything from poverty to growth. This column presents new facts on how Indian job growth in manufacturing is concentrated in informal tradable industries, especially one-person establishments. These features are most closely linked to the urbanisation of informal Indian manufacturing, but subcontracting and rising female participation also appear to play noteworthy roles.
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Growing through cities in India
Posted On: 20 Jun 2014


Do cities grow through specialisation or diversity? This column measures specialisation and diversity for the manufacturing and services sectors in India. It finds that Indian districts with a broader set of industries exhibit greater employment growth. This is particularly true for low population densities, rural areas and unorganised sector, reflecting knowledge flow and the inclusive nature of employment growth due to diversity.
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What makes cities more competitive in India?
Posted On: 07 Mar 2014

Topics:   Urbanisation

Policymakers in both developed and developing countries want to make cities more competitive, attract new entrepreneurs, boost economic growth, and promote job creation. This column shows that the two most consistent factors that bring entrepreneurs in manufacturing and services to a district in India are its education and quality of local physical infrastructure.
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Who creates jobs?
Posted On: 02 Aug 2013

Topics:   Jobs

With millions of young people entering the labour market each year, the big question is whether there will be enough jobs for them. But who actually creates these jobs? This column looks at data from India suggesting that young and small firms play a vital role. Policymakers just need to support them.
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The Golden Quadrilateral: Highway to success
Posted On: 10 May 2013

Topics:   Infrastructure

The Golden Quadrilateral, which connects four major cities in India, is the fifth-longest highway in the world. This column presents research that finds that by improving connectivity, the highway has helped with the efficient distribution of industries across locations. It has facilitated the shift of land and building intensive industries from the core to peripheries of cities, and has made medium-sized cities more attractive locations for manufacturing activity.
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Is India’s manufacturing sector moving out of cities?
Posted On: 15 Feb 2013

Topics:   Urbanisation

While urbanisation is moving ahead at a rapid pace in India, industrialisation has slowed down. What explains this disconnect between urbanisation and infrastructure? This column presents results of a study that suggests that the formal manufacturing sector is moving from urban to rural locations, and the informal sector is moving from rural to urban locations.
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What explains gender disparities in economic participation in India?
Posted On: 21 Aug 2012

Topics:   Gender , Jobs

The UN Global Gender Gap data shows that women’s economic participation and opportunity is worse in India than in 95% of all other countries studied. This column attempts to uncover what drives the gender balances of new enterprise in India and suggests measures for promoting women’s entrepreneurship and economic participation.
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