Analysing Technology in the Sialkot Soccer Ball Industry

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The project has been developed under  a team of researchers including Azam Chaudhry and Shamyla Chaudry (Lahore School of Economics), David Atkin (Yale University), Amit K. Khandelwal (Columbia University) and Eric Verhoogen (Columbia University).

The Sialkot soccer ball cluster is made up of a large number of manufactures who export approximately 60 million handstitched soccer balls each year, accounting for about 70 percent of global production. But over the last few years, the amount of soccer balls produced in Sialkot has fallen. This project aims to better understand the technologies within the industry and determine the characteristics of the firms that are able to identify and implement new technologies.

The research team developed a cost saving technology in 2012 which it has given to a number of soccer ball manufacturers in Pakistan in order to determine the factors affecting technology adoption in firms and technology spillovers between firms. The research team has also looked at how misaligned incentives between firms and employees can affect technology adoption. As of date the project has collected data on the Sialkot soccer ball sector with a 2 baseline survey conducted in January 2012, has shared the technology with a group of soccer ball manufacturers in May 2012 and has conducted seven rounds of follow up surveys with the firms. The preliminary data analysis was presented at the IGC Growth Week in September 2012 and September 2013 in London. The researchers have presented this work in seminars and conferences at University of Berkley, Yale University, Columbia University, Harvard University and University of Oxford. It has also been presented at the Government of Punjab in 2015. After these presentations the Secretary Finance and the Secretary Industries, Punjab Government used the project’s findings to propose and initiate an Innovation Development Fund (IDF). Currently, the Punjab Government has initiated this fund and the Lahore School is represented on its executive board.

At present, the research team has begun a three year extension of their project in which they will provide subsidized imported inputs to the Sialkot football manufacturers in order to see if these high quality inputs increase the output of high quality balls as well as increase exports.