ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Trade Liberalisation and Women’s Employment Intensity

Whether trade can be used as an instrument for generating greater employment opportunities for women is an important question for policymakers in developing countries. This paper analyses the role of various trade-related factors in determining female employment intensity in a panel of India’s manufacturing industries during 1998–2011. Import tariff rate is found to exert a negative effect on female employment intensity, supporting the hypothesis that firms, when exposed to international competition, tend to reduce costs by substituting male with female workers. Further, the relative demand for female workers increases to the extent that trade liberalisation leads to resource reallocation in favour of unskilled labour-intensive industries. By contrast, greater use of new technology biases the gender composition of workforce against females. Liberalisation has not led to large growth of female employment in India because the resource reallocation effect has not been strong enough to offset the negative technology effect.

Anatomy of India's Merchandise Export Growth, 1993-94 to 2010-11

This paper analyses the growth and pattern of India's merchandise exports during the post-reform period (1993-94 to 2010-11). The first decade after reforms (from 1993-94 to 2001-02) was characterised by a relatively low export growth rate of 8% a year, while the second decade (from 2002-03 to 2010-11) stands apart for its strong growth of 21% a year. The growth rate is at an impressive 24% per annum during the pre-financial crisis period of 2002-03 to 2008-09. These trends, based on India's official export data, have been further confirmed using "mirror statistics" that have been constructed on the basis of imports reported by India's trading partners. The composition of exports has undergone consistent changes in favour of capital and skill-intensive products. The lack of dynamism in labour-intensive exports is a matter of concern because it is this sector that holds the potential to absorb the large pool of surplus labour from agriculture. The analysis shows a major shift in India's export destination from the traditional developed country markets to the emerging markets in Asia and Africa.

Impact of ASEAN-India Preferential Trade Agreement on Plantation Commodities: A Simulation Analysis

This study analyses the impact of the asean-India Preferential Trade Agreement on plantation commodities - coffee, tea and pepper - using the smart and gravity models. This reveals that the agreement may cause a significant increase in India's imports of plantation commodities from the asean countries, which is mostly driven by trade creation rather than trade diversion. The proposed tariff reduction may lead to some loss of tariff revenue to the government. However, the gains in consumer surplus outweigh the loss in tariff revenue resulting in a net welfare gain. Simulations based on both the models yield broadly similar results regarding the magnitude of total increase in imports. During the years to come, the plantation sector will have to realign the production structure according to the changing price signals. It is thus important to devise appropriate adjustment assistance schemes for plantation workers who might face displacement.

Impact of Exchange Rate Appreciation on India's Exports

This article explores the relationship between the real effective exchange rate and exports for the period 1960-2007. Using World Trade Organisation and Reserve Bank of India data, it finds that the appreciation of the REER leads to a fall in the dollar value of India's merchandise exports. It also forecasts the growth of merchandise exports over the medium term.

Meddling with Comparative Advantage?

International Competitiveness and Knowledge- based Industries in India (2007) edited by Nagesh Kumar and K J Joseph;

Constant Market Share Analysis

This is with reference to my article ‘Sources of India’s Export Growth in Pre- and Post-Reform Periods’ (June 23).

Sources of India's Export Growth in Pre- and Post-Reform Periods

The pace of India's export growth has not been distinctly high during the larger part of the post-reform period (1993-2005), though it has accelerated since 2002. In contrast to the pre-reform period (1950-90), the actual growth of exports in the post-reform period has been above the potential offered by the growth of world demand. The gap between the actual and potential is mainly explained by an improvement in the overall competitiveness of India's exports. The rapid growth of India's merchandise exports since 2002 gives no room for complacency since it has been mainly determined by a buoyant world economy. The competitiveness effect, though positive, has not been the major contributing factor to the acceleration in the growth rate of merchandise exports in recent years. It appears that exports have been adversely affected by the appreciation of the real effective exchange rate during the post-reform period.

Manufacturing Productivity in Indian States

This paper analyses the influence of the investment climate on total factor productivity in the registered manufacturing sector across the major Indian states. We find that a market friendly investment climate is important for achieving higher levels of productivity. This conclusion is robust, unaffected by the choice of the investment climate indicator. A market friendly investment climate, however, does not mean that the regulatory function of the government should be done away with. Government regulation is crucial to address market failures and to protect social interests, but the policies and practices of the governments should be transparent and designed without distorting the incentives of the firms to invest and grow

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