Who controls the Indian economy: The role of families and communities in the Indian economy
Research on the concentration of corporate control frequently highlights the role of a few families, who control large swaths of their economies. The prominent role of certain communities is also evoked in these discussions, but the extent of their influence is unclear. Public and scholarly debate is also divided on the meaning of this kinship-based control; whether it reflects entrenchment or entrepreneurship. This paper examines questions about the extent and meaning of family and community control in the context of India. The results show that three trading communities (the Marwaris, Gujaratis and Parsis) play a disproportionate role in the control and ownership of Indian publicly traded firms. However, their role is skewed towards smaller, younger, and lower market share firms, and there is significant turnover in the identity of the largest firm over time. The results are similar for family control and ownership. Overall, the results do not support the entrenchment perspective, and instead supports the view that these social groups are the primary vehicle for raising funds among smaller, younger, and low market share firms. However, neither do the results support the view that Indian firms are rapidly embracing a managerial model with diffuse shareholdings.