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Community Origins of Industrial Entrepreneurship in Pre-Independence India


This EDI Working Paper derives from research undertaken in the Case Study on ‘Community networks and industrial entrepreneurship in India and China’ by Dilip Mookherjee et al.

The authors argue that community networks played an important role in the emergence of Indian entrepreneurship in the early stages of the cotton textile and jute industry in the late 19th and early 20th century respectively, overcoming the lack of market institutions and government support. From business registers, we construct a yearly panel dataset of entrepreneurs in these two industries. They find no evidence of entry patterns being affected by price shocks or pre-industrial accumulation of wealth or experience in trading in the corresponding upstream sector. Firm directors exhibited a high degree of clustering of entrepreneurs by community. The dynamics of entry is consistent with a model of network-based dynamics.


  • Bishnupriya Gupta, University of Warwick
  • Dilip Mookherjee, Boston University
  • Kaivan Munshi, University of Cambridge
  • Mario Sanclemente, University of Warwick

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