Research in Economics

Research holds great significance in the growth of the Institute as it provides a strong pervasive interface between creation of knowledge and training. It has developed substantial consultancy capacity in analyzing international business scenario and developing appropriate corporate strategies. The Institute has also been successfully bidding for both national and international projects. The Division keeps organizing crucial national and international conferences on contemporary themes from time to time, which brings together eminent resource persons both from multilateral bodies, government sector and renowned academic institutions.



1. Ease of Doing Business and the Performance of Indian Firms: A Firm-Level study across Industries and States

 India is constantly improving in the World Bank’s Doing Business (DB) rankings and has jumped 79 positions in five years (2014-19), with 63rd position in the recent report (2020). The EoDB is central to entrepreneurship, innovation, and wealth creation (Economic Survey 2021). The Indian government is making persistent efforts through its policies and programs to transform India into a manufacturing hub and ensure seamless business operations through simplified regulations and compliance requirements. It is widely known that the country envisions to be a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25 and increasing the country’s exports and FDI is essential to drive this expansion. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), along with initiatives such as “Make in India”, can help boost India’s GDP, only if India successfully positions itself as one of the most attractive destinations for doing business. However, the literature suggests that the country faces various bottlenecks in the areas including labour laws, land laws, contract enforcement, property registration, etc., that are required to be assessed. There is also a need for Indian businesses to improve their export competitiveness, not only on the cost of production but also on the good quality infrastructure in roads, rail, and logistics. Hence, it becomes essential to address the issues of firms operating in India, who, ultimately will have a central role to play in India’s growth story in the coming decades. The study being commissioned on behalf of Ministry of Corporate Affairs aims to find the scope of policy intervention in improving India’s “doing business” environment and to understand problems and concerns at the micro-level, in a holistic manner. The proposed research will bridge this gap and help identify the focus areas unique to Indian businesses, requiring the attention of policymakers.

2. Appointment of Designated Agencies under Brand Promotion in Footwear and Leather Sector sub-scheme of Indian Footwear and Leather Development Programme (IFLDP)

 Indian exports in leather and footwear sector mainly cater to international brands. Although, the large Indian suppliers have gained a wealth of knowledge and hands on experience over   the years, the large players are not investing in brand building activities. Brands play a critical role in establishing a firm’s visibility and position in international markets. Building a coherent international brand architecture is a key component of a firm’s overall international marketing strategy. Brand building process provides a structure to leverage strong brands into other markets, assimilate acquired and integrate strategy across markets. This study is an attempt to formalize and track the brand building activities required to boost exports in the leather and footwear sector. The objectives of the study are:

 i.      To identify and select potential Indian manufacturers in the leather and footwear domain eligible for branding support under sub-scheme of IFLDP

ii.      To plan and design, customized international brand building activities for the selected brands.

iii.      To guide and monitor the selected companies’ branded campaign in the international markets.

iv.      To conduct a terminal evaluation for the selected companies to measure the impact.


E-Commerce Majors, SSI retailers, and the Indian Economy – Theory & Empirics
In the backdrop of the difficulties involved in balancing the interests of different sections of industry, as well as their sensitivity to apparently minor divergences in the e-commerce norms in the country, the present study proposes to address the following set of research questions:
1.         To assess the rationale behind the complaints raised by Indian small businesses and traders’ association against e-commerce majors. Why such objections have been particularly raised by Indian SSIs only, while such online marketplaces are also operational in several other developing and developed countries as well?
2.         What has been the contribution of the e-commerce firms (specially focussing on Flipkart) in India in terms of overall GDP growth, consumption pattern, industrial production and structure, product innovation, employment generation, the export performance of firms (including those from small scale industries), and the number of exporters? Put differently, what would have been the Indian state of affairs in the absence of the e-commerce industry in the last decade or so? 3.         Can small retailers co-exist with big e-commerce platforms in an emerging economy like India in the long run? How useful were/are these online platforms in helping the small and medium enterprises step out of the precarious situation created by the Covid-19 pandemic, especially for those who were not engaged in virtual trading (domestic and foreign) during the pre-Covid times?

India Digital Trade Facilitation Forum (PayPal-IIFT)
Digitalization of businesses has become vital in the contemporary era as it contributes towardsimproving efficiency in various spheres of business. However, the pace of the fourth industrialrevolution has been varied for countries across the globe. While digital transformation ofbusinesses is now common amongst firms in the developed countries, the developing countriesare still lagging behind in this respect. Even among the developing countries, India occupies alow position primarily due to a lack of digitalization amongst its MSME firms that form thebackbone of its economy.Against this backdrop, this project addresses the following objectives:
1.To look into the factors determining adoption of digitalization by Indian manufacturing MSME firms.
2. To explore the role of digitalization in their export intensity.
3. Assessment of the role of digitalization in facilitating export market entry for these firms.
4. The project further aims to evaluate the current schemes promoting digitalization and exports in India.


Increasing Exports as a Driver of Economic Growth : Walmart’s Effort in India
The objective of this research is to emphasize the multiplier effects that Walmart’s global sourcing investment can have on national and local economies and map those effects concerning Walmart’s export goals for India over the next six years. The multiplier effect can be acknowledged from the following perspectives to boost Indian Exports:

  • Employment Creation in terms of Direct and Indirect employment
  • Upskilling of the workers and Gender Parities
  • Economies of Scale for Indian businesses and deeper engemenent with Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
  • Infrastructure Development, Regional Development, Supply Chain modernization and enhanced Digitization
  • New Product Development and Innovation
These perspectives will provide an advantage to the Indian ecosystem to optimally utilize the investments and attract new investments. Walmart’s expansion of business can directly support India’s aim to flourish the Make in India mission and enhance exports to USD 15 billion by 2025.


A Comparative Analysis of Export Credit Insurance to Exporters and Banks by ECGC: Implication on export performance of India
The study will draw a comparative assessment of the role of Export Credit Guarantees and Export Credit Insurance to Banks by ECGC on Export Performance in India. ECGC offers covers to both Banks and Exporters and charges premium in return of insuring their risks. The trends in the value of business covered by ECGC, premium charged, and claims paid by it over a time span of 10 years has been summarised in the form of various charts. In Figure 4, it is very evident that Short-Term ECIBs (Export Credit Insurance for Banks) seems to be one major component of the total value of business covered, but at the same time, appears to be more fluctuating in nature. In other words, it implies banks are availing more of the facility of ECGC insurance cover than the exporters. Hence, there is a need to look for the reasons for this sudden fall and rise in the value of business covered by short term ECIBs and reasons for the gap between the value of business covered by ECGC of exporters and Banks.
ECGC Insurance Covers and the Indian SSI Sector: A Study of the Women Oriented Units 
The project aims to analyse the firm and export performance of small-scale women-oriented firms covered under ECGC in the mentioned sectors (as below) and to estimate the difference in performance of woman SSI units covered under ECGC vis-a-vis those not covered. It also seeks to understand various challenges faced by these firms: export challenges and risks as well as other challenges. For women workers and women-dominated firms especially, bottlenecks such as safety of the industrial areas, ease of commuting, financial inclusion of the firm are much more significant than for male workers. Exports from such firms are a function of these various enabling factors as well and hence it is essential that the survey clearly brings out the challenges faced by such women workers as well as facilities provided to them, which incentivise them to work. Finally, why certain women-dominated firms did not opt for the ECGC coverage will be looked at and accordingly recommendations will be provided to the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Limited (ECGC), based on which they would be preparing an action plan to increase the uptake of the policy among such firms.
ICSSR-ESRC-UKRI   Collaborative Research on “The Future of UK-Indian Trade and Cross  Border Investment in a Changing Global Environment This research will look at the past experience of UK-India trade and investment based on EU GSP preferences; it will evaluate the impacts of switching from the GSP to an FTA regime; and it will identify those aspects of the GSP or the FTA that are effective in addressing issues of low employment and, through that, poverty rates in India. The research will address the following questions: • RQ1. Which features of the GSP may be retained to strengthen UK-India trade in the short-term? • RQ2. What would be the aggregate and sector-level economic impacts of a longer-term switch from a GSP regime to a UK-India FTA? • RQ3. Who are the likely winners and losers from potential changes in UK-India relationship over the short-term and a longer term?


Study on MSME'S Contribution to India's Export Growth & Challenges faced by them in Expanding to New Markets

The study is undertaken on behalf of Export Credit Guarantee Corporation Ltd. (ECGC) aims at understanding the impact of guarantee schemes on export performance of MSME firms. This requires specific information about the various ECGC policies undertaken by the firms and the main challenges faced in obtaining these claims. Based on the research findings, Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Limited (ECGC) would be preparing an action plan for benefit of Indian companies. The survey work is under progress.

Study on Evaluation of Indian Footwear, Leather & Accessories Development Programme (IFLADP)

The study was commissioned on behalf of Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). The objective of this study was to evaluate the IFLADP scheme initiated in 2017 by DPIIT for three years. There are seven sub-schemes of the scheme, the approach of the evaluation is to assess the sub-schemes with respect to the performance of firms and employees’ engagement in terms of productivity improvement, market penetration, new jobs creation and social security benefits. The study examined the structure of Indian Leather industry and how IFLADP has supported the Leather industry. Prepared Survey Questionnaires for each sub-scheme, visited factories and conducted stake-holders’ meetings to understand the position of each sub-scheme. Each Sub-scheme was rigorously evaluated using REEIS framework and SWOT analysis. The study highlighted the areas that need to be improved in each sub-scheme to maximise the gains from the scheme if to be continued.

Study on Evaluation of Scheme for Investment Promotion of DPIIT

The study was commissioned on behalf of Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). The objective of this study was to ascertain increase in the investment level in the economy including FDI inflows following the implementation of SIP Scheme. Improvement in doing business ranking as recognition of policy reforms undertaken to boost investors’ confidence through various efforts under SIP. Growth achieved in manufacturing in the identified champion sectors who have used the programs under SIP. Achievement of implantation of Make in India action plans in the focus sectors through favourable fiscal incentives, FDI reforms, launch of new polices and scheme, Ease of Doing business reforms and skill development.

Study on Assessing the Import Tariffs and the State of Effective Rate of Protection in the Indian Aluminum Industry

The study sponsored by Global Axis provides an overview of the Indian Aluminum industry; analyzes the efficacy of the present policies with a focus on the contemporary trade situation and recommends suitable policy option to enhance the competitiveness and export performance of the downstream industry vis-à-vis the dynamics of global demand and supply. Analysis of the trade structure of the domestic aluminum industry, its duty structure and the calculation of effective rate of protection in the aluminum industry during post FTA period has been done along with challenges faced by the Indian aluminum downstream sector and its future potential. The rising requirement to “green” properties of the aluminum and awareness of the climate change mitigation has been assessed and World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS) SMART Analysis has been done to build a hypothetical scenario to import high quality primary aluminum in India at lower tariffs with the reference case of Russia.


Prospects for India-UK Trade and Investment: An Assessment of the Opportunities and Challenges sponsored by PwC & DFID (UK)

The study was undertaken on behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers and Department for International Trade (DFID) UK. The study analyses trade between India and the UK at a disaggregated product and service level as well as aggregated level with a special emphasis on trade in parts, components and accessories to understand their role in the GVCs. Detailed analysis of import trends of India and the UK from the world has been carried out in different products and services. Potential products and services have been identified that India could export to the UK and the UK could export to India. The study examines the FDI trends between India and the UK and identifies potential opportunities for both the countries. It also examines the current market access issues which India faces in the UK and vice-versa in terms of trade policies, investment and other government policies. The study tries to develop recommendations for the trade and investment sector of India and the UK. Also, the need for integration of manufacturing, services, trade, investment and innovation policies is investigated in accordance with the Make-in-India program of the government.

Employment Diagnostics of Labour-Intensive Manufacturing Sector and Implication for India’s Exports sponsored by PwC & DFID (UK)
The study was sponsored by behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers and Department for International Trade (DFID) UK. The objective of this study was to undertake an employment diagnostic of India’s labour-intensive tradable manufacturing sector (organised as well as unorganised) with a view to identifying policy measures to improve its export performance, while contributing to job creation in the economy. At macro-level, Inter-country comparison is done for manufacturing and services sector behaviour post-1990s. The study analysed the post-liberalisation trends of employment across India’s major tradable sectors. Using secondary and field data, the study investigated the impact of growing competition faced by India’s traditional labour-intensive exports and the labour market rigidities that prevent a firm/industry from equating real wages. This study developed an econometric model to comprehend the complex relationship among job growth, employment structure productivity growth, increasing capital-labour ratio and export growth. This study’s recommendation attempted to help the government to design incentives, skill development strategies and technology upgrading policy in export-oriented sectors to support sustainable growth in exports along with employment generation in the labour-surplus Indian economy.

Study on Developing India’s Service Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI) sponsored by Ministry of Commerce and Industry
The study was conducted on behalf of Department of Commerce. The objective of the study is to rework the STRI using the OECD STRI methodology, binary scoring and same weights for the 5 policy areas but including new regulations to increase coverage and to develop an alternate index covering countries and sectors which are important from the context of services trade including additional sectors as well as regulations, exploring the possibility of continuous scoring and assigning different weights to the different policy measures.

Exploratory Study on Linkages between Technology and Trade
The study was sponsored by Ministry of Science & Technology, Department of Science & Technology. The study analyses trade patterns of Indian exports and imports classified at varying level of technology intensity and develop linkages between trade performance and technology competitiveness with its possible implications. It also explores the direct and indirect aspects of this phenomenon to help policy-makers develop insights on the development of S&T for enhancing contribution of Indian trade in global value chains.

Export Strategy Plan for Increasing Export of Spices and Value Added Products of Spices from India

The study conducted on behalf of Spices Board analyses the export trend of Indian spices so as to identify focus or potential export interest items and analyses the global market trends to identify the potential and emerging markets so that Indian export may be diversified in terms of destinations. The study analyses each spice / value added item and finds out why Indian exports are not performing better in some of the product lines. It also maps the value chain of spices and suggests how small domestic players may be protected against strong global multinational companies. The study also identifies the market access issues in the potential and major markets in the form of tariff and non-tariff barriers.


8th  IIFT Conference on “Empirical Issues on International Trade and Finance” Date: 15th and 16th December 2022

The Institute had successfully conducted its 8th International Conference on Empirical Issues in International Trade & Finance during 15-16 December 2022. The theme for this year's EIITF Conference was “Emerging Dynamics of Trade and Finance in the time of Global Disruptions”. This year’s conference received a wide response from the academia and the policy research community, and a total of around 200 papers were submitted from Universities and Research Institutes from India and abroad. After a suitable peer-review process, around 110 papers divided into 24 technical sessions were selected for presentation at the Conference. The different technical sessions have generated significant research inputs with widespread future policy dimensions particularly on issues related to service trade, capital flows, foreign direct investment and technology transfer, digitization, assessment of the regional integration process, and identification of policy-induced and structural constraints that have important policy-implications. The invited speakers for this year’s conference were Prof. Pranab Bardhan (University of California, Berkeley) and Prof. James R. Markusen (University of Colorado, Boulder). Besides the Lectures by Distinguished Guests and Technical Sessions, Round Table Discussion on “Post-COVID recovery and Global Trade Scenario: Implications for India”; and 2 Policy Forums on "Role of the State in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Balancing concerns of SDGs, OEM-led GVCs, and the Pandemic" (in collaboration with the Centre for WTO Studies, New Delhi); and "India-Australia Trade Relations: Towards building resilient and secured supply chain" (in collaboration with the University of Western Australia, Australia) were conducted. The Valedictory Address was delivered by Shri. M. Senthilnathan, Chairman & Managing Director, Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC).


Capacity Building Session on International Trade

Economics Division, IIFT in association Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), New Delhi conducted a two day Capacity Building Session on International Trade during 27th & 28th September 2022 at Hotel Holiday Inn, Aerocity, New Delhi.


Stakeholder Consultation regarding Research Study on E-Commerce Majors, SSI retailers, and the Indian Economy Theory & Empirics

The Institute has commissioned the above referred research study on behalf of Flipkart Internet Pvt. Ltd. The report launch workshop and stakeholders consultation were carried out on 14.11.2022 at Nalanda, IIFT. During the workshop, Shri Anurag Jain, Secretary, DPIIT (in online mode) and Shri Darpan Jain JS, DOC were present. Industry experts and other dignitaries from various organizations including CII, FICCI, PHD Chamber of Commerce were also invited in the workshop.