Projects, funded research & consultancy

Forces for change (in co-operation with BITC)

In collaboration with some of my colleagues at Sheffield University Management School and in co-operation with Business in the Community, I worked on the Forces for Change project. We identified six major forces that would shape the business landscape in the future. These are demographic change, climate change, increased competition for resources, geopolitical changes, changes in social values, and technological changes. Our thesis was that as these changes take place they will shape interactions between governments, civil societies and the international community. The political economy of these interactions will, in turn, shape the nature of formal institutions, and rules and regulations that govern business activity. Businesses will have to strategise to deal with these changes. At the one end of the strategy spectrum, they can be tactical and reactive, and adjust to these changes to the best of their abilities. At the other end, they can proactively engage with the society, the political establishment, the technology creators and others to influence the major forces and, consequently, the changes in institutions, rules and regulations.

UKIERI trilateral research grant

This UKIERI funded project brings together researchers from the University of Sheffield (previously from Aston University), the Indian Institute of Management at Calcutta, Madras School of Economics, and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. It aims to examine two related issues that can facilitate (or hinder) private sector development – financial development and corporate governance – in India, a BRICS country. Specifically, it asks (will ask) three questions: (a) have financial reforms reduced informational inefficiency, volatility and transactions cost in India’s capital market? (b) how have these reforms affected allocational efficiency of credit and risk-taking by commercial banks? and (c) how have financial and real sector reforms affected the quality of corporate governance?

Enterprise Research Centre (ESRC funded)

At the Enterprise Research Centre, I was associated with the work package that focuses on financing issues related to enterprise growth, and worked with Mike Wright of Imperial College and Stuart Fraser of Warwick Business School. My activities as part of the ERC were as follows: (a) Stuart Fraser, Mike Wright and I wrote a white paper summarising the available evidence about credit and non-credit (e.g., venture capital, business angels) modes of financing firms, identifying issues that require further evidence based research. A revised version of the paper was later published in International Journal of Small Business. (b) I used the KfW-ZEW data on German start-up firms to analyse the financing patterns of German start-ups during the early stage of the recent financial crisis. (Some of this analysis is included in the monograph on family firms which I co-authord with Ralitza Dimova.) Stuart Fraser, Mike Wright and I provided input to BIS about the functioning of business banks around the world. I specifically provided input about Germany’s KfW and Canada’s BDC. Later, I provided input into the newly formulated British Business Bank’s internal research paper on mezzanine finance. 

High-growth firms – Characteristics and determinants (NESTA funded)

The NESTA funded project addressed a number of aspects of high growth firms in the UK, such as productivity and internationalisation. The Aston Business School team includes Mark Hart, Jun Du, Yama Temouri, Yundan Gong, Michael Anyadike-Danes and Karen Bonner. I was associated with a work package that examines financing constraints among British firms, across a wide range of 2-digit industries and geographical regions. We examined it using a stochastic frontier based approach discussed in the 2012 Journal of Banking & Finance paper which I co-authored with P. Das and S.C. Kumbhakar.

Relationship between high-growth firms and internationalisation (UKTI funded)

This UK Trade & Investment (now Department for International Trade) funded project examined the relationship between internationalisation of firms and their growth, with emphasis on high growth firms. Broadly speaking, these are firms that have an annualised growth rate greater than 20 percent over a three year period, when growth is measured in terms of employment or turnover. Aside from me, the project team included, among others, Mark Hart, Yundan Gong and Yama Temouri of Aston Business School.

Productivity and its drivers in the UK and comparable developed countries (ESRC placement fellowship at BIS)

A significant proportion of cross-country variation in GDP growth is explained by the variation in productivity growth rate. Hence, it is important to develop an understanding about policies that raise the trend rate of productivity growth for an economy. That in turn, requires an understanding of the cyclicality of productivity itself and that of its determinants. Since economic downturns reduce the opportunity cost of productive resources, they provide opportunities to implement changes that raise the aforementioned trend rate of productivity growth.

The first part of the project examined the academic literature on the cyclicality of productivity and its determinants. The second part of the project examined the available evidence about the British government’s policies regarding these determinants, especially in the context of the most recent recession, and drew inferences about the likely trend in productivity growth (as well as structural challenges) during the recovery. The project was undertaken in cooperation with researchers and policymakers at the (then) UK Department of Business Innovation and Skills (now Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy). The research was published as BIS Economics Paper No. 12.

Enterprise risk management in India (co-developed with the Conference Board)

This project extended the research of the Conference Board on Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) in the USA to India. It used case studies of four Indian companies — Tata Chemicals, Tata Motors, Dr. Reddy’s and ICICI Bank — to draw conclusions about the nature of ERM in the Indian corporate sector. The final report, co-authored with Ellen Hexter and Matteo Tonello, was released by the Conference Board in April 2008.

Enterprise performance in Lagos (co-developed with the World Bank)

The World Bank sought expert opinions on the factors that hinder growth and financial viability of firms in Lagos, the largest non-oil industrial region of Nigeria. The basis for the opinions was firm-level data collected by the Bank from the population of large firms, and random samples of small and medium enterprises, and informal sector firms. Saul Estrin and I acted as consultants to the Bank. The final report was submitted to the Bank in the summer of 2006.

Market development in emerging markets II (DfID funded)

The Department for International Development (DfID) funded project aimed at exploring the nature of impact of institutions on market development in emerging markets. The project was managed by Saul Estrin, and the Centre for New and Emerging Markets at London Business School served as the secretariat for the project.

The key question addressed in the course of this phase the project was how local institutions in emerging markets affect entry of firms into product markets. It also explored the impact of entry on firm-level total factor productivity. The project builds on the seminal work of Hernando de Soto, as also on the research of Mark Roberts, James Tybout and Simeon Djankov, among others.

The empirical work was undertaken using firm-level secondary data from the BRICS countries, namely, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and Senegal. I was involved in the Indian end of the project, and worked closely with the Indian team led by Shubhashis Gangopadhyay of India Development Foundation. The project came to an end in 2005. The research findings with which I was associated were published in European Journal of Development Research and Review of Development Economics.

Market development in emerging markets I (DfID funded)

The Department for International Development (DfID) funded project aimed at exploring some aspects of the functioning of multinational enterprises in emerging markets. The project was managed by Klaus E. Meyer and Saul Estrin, and the Centre for New and Emerging Markets at London Business School served as the secretariat for the project.

The key question addressed in the course of this phase the project was how local institutions in emerging markets interact with resource requirements of the multinational enterprises in determining the choice of mode of entry of these enterprises into the emerging markets. The importance of this choice arises from the correlation between the entry mode and factors like technology transfer that influence the spillover effects of foreign direct investment.

Firm-level data were collected from multinational enterprises operating in Egypt, India, South Africa and Vietnam. I was involved in the management of the project, and worked closely with K.E. Meyer and S. Estrin, on the one hand, and with the Indian team, led by Subir Gokarn and Laveesh Bhandari, then at the National Council of Applied Economic Research in New Delhi, on the other. The project came to an end in 2003. The research findings with which I was associated were published in Strategic Management Journal, Comparative Economic Studies and an edited volume published by Elgar.

Country report on Bulgaria (GDN funded)

The Global Development Network (GDN) sponsored by the World Bank solicited proposals for country reports on transition economies of Central and Eastern Europe and developing countries around the world. My proposal for Bulgaria, developed jointly with Ivona Jackimova and Alexander Shivarov of Varna University of Economics, received a nod. The final report was submitted to GDN in 2001.

Report on tax administration in India

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had sponsored a programme to evaluate tax administration in India. The project was managed by the National Institute for Public Finance and Policy, New Delhi. I co-authored the section on property tax administration in India, along with Om Prakash Mathur. The final report was submitted to the UNDP and the Government of India in 1997.