The Indian growth spurt of the 1980s has led DeLong,Rodrik Subramaniam (IMF Staff Papers 52(2):193–228, 2005) and Kohli (Economic and Political Weekly 41(14):1361–1370, 2006) to question the need for market reforms in the 1990s and the supporters of liberalization to argue that it was the result of piecemeal liberalization. Both sides of this debate focus exclusively on the quantitative aspects of the high growth while ignoring its underlying quality. This paper analyzes two aspects of the quality of growth during the 1980s. First, it considers whether the increases in production were concentrated in goods far removed from mass consumption and second, it analyzes certain characteristics of three consumer goods that serve as an indicator of their quality.
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