Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Lahiri, Sajal


This dissertation addresses specific issues on domestic and foreign trade in India. The three chapters of the dissertation are summarized as follows. In the first chapter, we analyze the existence of regional wage differences across Indian states, and how domestic trade affects those premiums. We follow a two-step estimation process used in the literature on Labor Economics. Our empirical results show that higher level of domestic imports tends to reduce the state premiums, and higher domestic exports increase those premiums, which is consistent with a specific factor Ricardo-Viner model. Thus, promoting domestic trade by with states specializing in certain industries may lead to higher welfare within the country. In addition, we find, state premiums depend negatively on state-level amenities measured by per-capita power availability, and does not depend on the richness of the State measured by per-capita Net State Domestic Product. In the second chapter, we look at the pattern and determinants of inter-state manufacturing trade in India. In the paper, we use information on 12 manufacturing industries categorized under 5 sectors from 2005 to 2013 with two-year intervals in between. We find that a 1\% decrease in income ratio between importing state net state domestic product and exporting state net domestic product has significantly varying effects on trade flows across the different sectors. For coal and minerals, the effect is 36.8%, for chemical it is 105%, for metals it is 31.5% and for cement, it is 36.8%. In all these case a decrease in income ratio increases exports. For machinery, a 1% decrease in income ratio lead to approximately 9.3% reduction in trade. This suggests that machineries which are capital goods are more imported by richer states, whereas the other goods which can be classified as intermediate inputs are more imported by poorer states. We also find that infrastructure promotes trade and on average infrastructure reduces the effect of contiguity by around 28.6% and promotes trade even between non-contiguous states. Therefore, infrastructure in the form of roadways, highways, and railways must be built and maintained to promote facilitate trade in India. In chapter three, we compare the effects of tariffs and non-tariff barriers on Indian exports. We use Indian HS-96 four-digit industry level export data from COMTRADE and tariff data from TRAINS database for the study. The overall result suggests that input tariffs have the largest effect on exports, followed by final tariff and foreign tariffs. A 1% reduction in input tariff leads to around 8.6% increase in exports. A similar reduction in final tariffs and foreign tariffs lead to 3.6% and 2.8% increase, respectively in exports. Thus, we conclude that the supply side effect of exports dominates the demand side effects. From a policy perspective, if countries try to improve trade balance by imposing high tariffs, it may lead to a negative effect on exports through the input tariff effects.




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