Neeraj Kaushal, Felix Muchomba, 24 December 2013

A recent food security bill passed by the Indian government has raised criticism due to its high cost but questionable effect on nutrition. This column presents a recent study that finds the food subsidies did not improve nutrition, but affected food consumption patterns. In particular, consumption of subsidised grains increased, and consumption of some cheaper and inferior substitutes decreased.

Kristin Forbes, Michael Klein, 24 December 2013

Government interventions to control capital flows and reduce exchange-rate volatility have long been controversial. The Global Financial Crisis has made the debate more urgent. This column discusses recent research that evaluates such policies against the counterfactual of no intervention. Depreciations and reserve sales can boost GDP growth during crises, but may also substantially increase inflation. Large increases in interest rates and new capital controls are associated with reductions in GDP growth, with no significant effect on inflation. When faced with sudden shifts in capital flows, policymakers must ‘pick their poison’.

Prashant Bharadwaj, Leah Lakdawala, Nicholas Li, 05 December 2013

The most popular regulation against child labour is a ban against it. This column presents evidence from such a ban in India. Not only did the ban not reduce child labour, but it even increased it. The effects are concentrated among the poorest families. Therefore, policy reforms other than bans could be more effective in reducing child labour, and in improving the lives of children.

Anders Åslund, 04 September 2013

Emerging markets are under pressure. This column argues that this is not a mere headwind but that the BRICs’ party is over. Their ability to get going again rests on their ability to carry through reforms in grim times for which they lacked the courage in a boom.

Marco Annunziata, 01 September 2013

India, like other emerging markets, is having a tough summer. This column argues that India needs to step up reforms and critical infrastructure investment to reboot growth. Its economic health – and that of other emerging markets – is not as dire as headlines suggest. The alarm and pessimism surrounding emerging markets appears to have run well ahead of any deterioration in fundamentals.

Meghana Ayyagari, Thorsten Beck, Mohammad Hoseini, 02 June 2013

Using state-level data from India over the period 1983 to 2005, this paper gauges the effect of financial deepening and outreach on rural poverty. Its findings suggest that financial deepening contributed to poverty alleviation in rural areas by fostering entrepreneurship and inducing geographic-sectoral migration.

Meghana Ayyagari, Thorsten Beck, Mohammad Hoseini, 23 June 2013

Financial liberalisation has been controversial among academics and policymakers as it is not clear whom the benefits of expanded credit allocation accrue to. Using time and state-level variation across Indian states, this column finds strong evidence that financial deepening reduces rural poverty, especially among the self-employed. Financial deepening is also found to be associated with an inter-state migration trend from rural areas into the tertiary sector in urban areas.

Tatiana Didier, Sergio Schmukler, 06 May 2013

The growth of China and India’s financial sectors is hard to ignore. This column presents a new dataset on domestic and international capital raising activity and performance of the publicly listed firms in China and India. The data suggest that expanding capital markets might tend to directly benefit the largest firms – those able to reach some minimum threshold size for issuance. More widespread direct and indirect effects are more difficult to elucidate.

Pradumna Rana, Chia Wai Mun, 01 April 2013

The global economy was once dominated by north-north relations, with some limited concern for north-south relations. This column argues that south-south economic relations now matter and explains what new ‘look east’ policies that are being implemented in south Asia mean for the global south and the global economy.

Ejaz Ghani, William Kerr, Stephen O'Connell, 22 February 2013

Although its economic development has been impressive, recent events have sparked debate about India’s gender inequality. This column argues that Indian women’s levels of entrepreneurship and participation in the labour force are some of the lowest in the world. India’s economic growth and shared prosperity depends upon successfully utilising both its male and female workforce, and improving this balance is an important step towards sharing the benefits of India’s growth. Economically and socially, gender equality should be a no-brainer for policymakers.

Ejaz Ghani, Arti Grover Goswami, William Kerr, 05 February 2013

Investment in transport plays an important role in a country’s economic development. This column assesses Indian industries that are moving out of the congested big cities in search of cheaper land and buildings, facilitated by major highways. The Golden Quadrilateral highway project -- a huge, country-wide highway building project connecting four major Indian cities -- significantly influences the success of industries’ exodus from the big cities. It is clear that although highway investments are expensive, the costs of not investing may be too high.

Ila Patnaik, Ajay Shah, 20 November 2012

Can we agree that capital controls are an effective tool for macroeconomic policy? If so, should they be permanent or temporary? This column argues that under a permanent system of capital controls, a country will always bear costs whether there is a surge or capital flight or not. Looking at the Indian experience, it’s clear that capital controls do not necessarily help a government meet its macroeconomic goals in times of need.

Sarah Chan, 15 September 2012

Optimism over India’s economy is fading. This column argues that India’s current economic slowdown reflects both cyclical and structural factors. It outlines the steps needed to get India back on course to reaching its growth potential.

Karen Macours, Patrick Premand, Renos Vakis, 12 September 2012

Droughts in the US, India, and the Sahel are making headlines, with the farmers themselves often the first to lose out. This column presents findings from a randomised control trial exploring whether providing households with training and capital to diversify their incomes can cushion the shock of severe weather.

Ejaz Ghani, Arti Grover Goswami, William Kerr, 27 July 2012

India’s cities are growing at a growing rate – despite the slowdown in the pace of industrialisation. But beneath the overall trend, many companies are moving out of the city. This column looks at data on manufacturing firms and finds that while those in the formal sector are leaving the city, those in the informal sector are moving in.

Nishith Prakash, Aimee Chin, 21 July 2012

Affirmative action policies in India, which give preferential treatment to historically disadvantaged minority groups, are extremely controversial. Do they correct one injustice by creating another? This column looks at the effects of ‘political reservation’ – quotas for representatives from certain ethnic backgrounds. It finds that the effects depend on the group being given preferential treatment.

Ganeshan Wignaraja, 04 July 2012

With little end in sight for the Doha Round of trade talks, this column argues that China and India are only going to pursue more free trade agreements. It asks what can be done to make sure these agreements lead to deeper integration between these countries and the rest of the world.

Stefan Dercon, Albert Park, Abhijeet Singh, 25 June 2012

Despite the popularity of school meals, little evidence exists on their effect on health outcomes. This study investigates whether the school meals program in Andhra Pradesh, India, ameliorated the deterioration of health in young children caused by a severe drought.

Klaus Desmet, Ejaz Ghani, Stephen O'Connell, Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 13 June 2012

Will India’s rapid growth in the services sector lead to overcrowding of its cities? This column compares India’s experience to that of other countries.

Karla Hoff, 24 April 2012

For some, affirmative action is righting one wrong by committing a wrong against another group. But this column presents new theory and evidence suggesting that the influence of social stigma on a person’s self-confidence, self-development and their ultimate success should not be ignored.

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