Working Paper No. 146. Sameeksha Desai, Johan E. Eklund and Andreas Högberg (2009). Promarket Reforms and Allocation of Capital in India.
Abstract: The government of India initiated pro-market reforms in the 1990s, after almost five decades of socialist planning. These and subsequent policy reforms are credited as the drivers of India’s radical economic transformation. Prior to reforms, private investment was strictly regulated and restricted to certain areas and sectors. There have since been numerous changes in sectors important for investment, which should lead to changes in outcomes of firm-level strategic decision making and investment behavior. By most estimates, India will continue to grow. The purpose of this paper is to investigate changes in investment behavior from the introduction of reforms to current conditions. Reforms changed several institutional frameworks for firm operations, allowing firms to pursue more competitive strategies. Given the importance of ownership in determining firm efficiency and access to capital, we examine the effect of ownership on the performance of Indian firms for the period 1991-2006. We also examine industry differences in capital allocation. We compute a measure of investment efficiency derived from the accelerator principle: Elasticity of capital with respect to output. We examine the effect of various ownership structures on investment behavior and the efficiently of capital allocation across different sectors of the economy. We find that the allocation of capital has been slow to respond to reforms, indicating similar pace of firm responses.