NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Life Cycle of Plants in India and Mexico

Chang-Tai Hsieh, Peter J. Klenow

NBER Working Paper No. 18133
Issued in June 2012
NBER Program(s):   EFG   PR

In the U.S., the average 40 year old plant employs almost eight times as many workers as the typical plant five years or younger. In contrast, surviving Indian plants exhibit little growth in terms of either employment or output. Mexico is intermediate to India and the U.S. in these respects: the average 40 year old Mexican plant employs twice as many workers as an average new plant. This pattern holds across many industries and for formal and informal establishments alike. The divergence in plant dynamics suggests lower investments by Indian and Mexican plants in process efficiency, quality, and in accessing markets at home and abroad. In simple GE models, we find that the difference in life cycle dynamics could lower aggregate manufacturing productivity on the order of 25% in India and Mexico relative to the U.S.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18133

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