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Kunal Sen

UNU-WIDER

Kunal Sen is a leading international expert on the political economy of growth and development with over three decades of experience in academic and applied development economics research. From 2019 he is the Director of UNU-WIDER. He is also a professor of development economics at the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester. In addition to his work as a professor of development economics, Kunal Sen has been the Joint Research Director of the Effective States and Inclusive Development (ESID) research centre, and a Research Fellow at the Institute for Labor Economics in Bonn. He has also served in advisory roles with national governments and bilateral and multilateral development agencies, including the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). He has been awarded the Sanjaya Lall Prize in 2006 and Dudley Seers Prize in 2003 for his publications.
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publication
What Explains the Job Creating Potential of Industrialisation in the Developing World?

This paper examines why job creation in the manufacturing sector has differed widely across developing countries, using a modified Lewis model that captures the scale, composition and labour intensity effects of industrialisation on job creation. We show that while the scale effect has been mostly positive, labour intensity and composition effects have been mostly negative. Trade integration has a positive impact on manufacturing employment via the scale and composition effects, but a negative impact via the labour intensity effect. Human capital has a positive effect via the labour intensity effect. Labour regulations have no impact through any of the effects.

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publication
Moving out of the bottom of the economy? Constraints to firm transition in the Indian informal manufacturing sector

The predominant type of firms in developing countries is small family firms and the self-employed in the informal sector. Very few family firms make the transition to larger firms employing non-family labour. In this paper, we examine the reasons for the low presence of firms employing non-family labour in the informal sector, using a firm-level data set drawn from nationally representative repeated cross-sectional surveys of the Indian informal manufacturing sector. We find that the key constraint to firm transition is firm capabilities, followed by the level of urbanisation, access to electricity and roads, and human capital, with financial constraints playing a lesser role.

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publication
The location choice of US foreign direct investment: how do institutions matter?

We look at the institutional determinants of both within- and across-country variations in US foreign direct investment (FDI) flows over time. The strength of our approach is that in contrast to the previous work that has focused on average FDI flows across countries, we are able to explain both the variations in FDI flows across and within countries for a given year. Our core hypothesis is that in countries with high quality of contract enforcement, multinationals are more likely to invest in the industries, where by their very nature investments are relationship specific. Conversely, in countries with low quality of contract enforcement, multinationals are more likely to invest in industries where investments to a large degree are not relationship specific. Using-three dimensional panel data for US FDI flows to 50 countries and 6 sectors for the period 1984–2010, we find strong support for our hypothesis. Our findings suggest that countries that want to attract US FDI in sectors that are highly intensive in technology and institutions such as transportation and electronics should improve their property rights and contracting environment.

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