Market Integration, Demand and the Growth of Firms: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in India
NBER Working Paper No. 24693
In many developing countries, the average firm is small, does not grow and has low productivity. Lack of market integration and limited information on non-local products often leave consumers unaware of the prices and quality of non-local firms. They therefore mostly buy locally, limiting firms’ potential market size (and competition). We explore this hypothesis using a natural experiment in the Kerala boat-building industry. As consumers learn more about non-local builders, high quality builders gain market share and grow, while low quality firms exit. Aggregate quality increases, as does labor specialization, and average production costs decrease. Finally, quality-adjusted consumer prices decline.
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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24693