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Essays in trade and economic geography

Mukim, Megha (2011) Essays in trade and economic geography. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis tests the predictions of theoretical models of trade and economic geography using micro-data from India. As part of a large, poor and rapidly developing country, Indian households receive a disproportionate share of attention from development economists. However, there remain large gaps in the understanding of its other microentities – firms. In Chapter 1, I use detailed panel-level data on 8,253 manufacturing firms from 1990 to 2008 and demonstrate how firms that export differ from their counterparts who cater to the domestic market. After identifying the extent to which the act of exporting drives these differences, I provide evidence that Indian exporters performed better than nonexporters at the outset, and that exporting positively impacts further productivity increases. In Chapters 2, 3 and 4, I focus on how economic activity in India organises itself along economic geography factors. Chapter 2 studies firms in the Indian informal sector, who have largely escaped close scrutiny before. Using data from national sample surveys on over 4 million manufacturing and services enterprises, I find that firms choose to locate in particular districts across the country. I show that existing agglomeration within these locations, such as that of intermediate buyers and suppliers, is driving the location decisions of new firms. In Chapter 3, using previously inaccessible data on inward FDI, I find that foreign investors also show evidence of clustering and that existing agglomeration and the business environment jointly drive this behaviour. In Chapter 4, I collect data from the Indian Patent Office and my analysis concludes that regional innovation is largely a function of public research and development and economic clustering. In summary, this thesis uses new data and robust methodological approaches to provide important economic insights into the workings of firms in India and the factors affecting their productivity and their location decisions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2011 Megha Mukim
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > International Development
Supervisor: Weinhold, Diana

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