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Growth Behaviour of India’s Export of Services, 1975–2018

Sampriti Das and Amiya Sarma

Foreign Trade Review, 2021, vol. 56, issue 3, 301-321

Abstract: Trade in services has made phenomenal strides in the globalisation era with the advent of a technology revolution, fragmentation in production processes and rapid digitisation. The case of India has been exemplary, as she bypasses her sluggish growth in goods exports to emerge as a world leader in commercial services. By churning out positive net exports since 2003, this trade sector has considerably eased the country’s unfavourable current-account position. Further, the relatively robust performance of the country’s service exports in the face of the Great Recession of 2008–2009 has ignited speculations over its suitability as an instrument of sustainable economic growth. Though the stupendous growth of India’s export of services is well documented, not much has been said regarding consistency in this growth. Our study identifies that against the backdrop of key macroeconomic developments, the growth performance of the country’s real export of services has undergone vivid variations. The long-term trend of these exports, though increasing, is choppy. We identify three structural regimes in the course of these exports: 1975–1993, 1994–2004 and 2005–2018. We conscientiously deduce that the phenomenal growth of real service exports that accrued in the 1990s has been slowly wearing out post 2005. The slowdown has both cyclical and structural elements to it and corresponds to the changing cyclicality of service exports, subduing demand, slowing global value chains (GVCs) and post-crisis mood of protectionism. JEL Codes: F14, C32, E32

Keywords: Trade; slowdown; structural change; Beveridge–Nelson decomposition (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1177/0015732520982187

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