Ann Harrison, Leslie Martin, Shanthi Nataraj, 22 March 2011

It is broadly agreed that trade liberalisation can increase productivity. The question is how. Earlier literature emphasises the role of firms “learning” to be more productive, whereas recent studies suggest that more productive firms are “stealing” market share from less productive ones, thus raising overall productivity. Presenting evidence from India’s trade liberalisation since 1991, this column finds evidence for both but argues that learning outweighs stealing.

Ejaz Ghani, 13 March 2011

The Indian economy, along with others in South Asia, is among the fastest growing in the world. But what about social progress? This column reviews World Bank data suggesting that while income growth is helping to reduce poverty, the number of poor people is actually rising and there remains huge room for improvement in education, health, and women’s economic participation.

Parthasarathi Shome, Francis Rathinam, 20 February 2011

The world anticipates many things from India over the coming years, but what does India expect from the rest of the world? This column explores India’s immediate and long-term concerns for the G20. It argues that India is focused on achieving a global framework for more inclusive economic growth that encompasses developed and developing countries, as well as emerging markets.

Klaus Deininger, Aparajita Goyal, Hari Nagarajan, 03 December 2010

Women in many countries face legal barriers preventing them from inheriting property. This column argues that this is a starting place for broader gender inequality and that stronger inheritance rights for women are likely to be an effective mechanism for improving their access to physical and human capital.

Ejaz Ghani, 28 October 2010

South Asia’s economy is one of the fastest growing in the world, yet it is also home to the largest concentration of people living in debilitating poverty. How do the two co-exist? This column says that South Asia’s division into leading and lagging regions means that stupendous growth hides deep pockets of poverty.

Andrew Mold, 24 October 2010

Developing countries have enjoyed strong economic performance over the past decade – often growing twice as fast as OECD economies. This column asks whether developing countries will continue to outpace rich countries over the coming two decades. Updating Angus Maddison’s famous projections, it forecasts a world starkly different from today’s. The worlds’ poor countries will account for nearly 70% of global GDP in 2030.

Jens Arnold, Beata Javorcik, Molly Lipscomb, Aaditya Mattoo, 12 October 2010

Conventional explanations for the post-1991 growth of India’s manufacturing sector focus on trade liberalisation and industrial de-licensing. This column examines 4,000 Indian firms from 1993 to 2005 and argues that a key factor for the success of Indian manufacturing may lie outside of manufacturing – in the services sector.

Jesus Felipe, Utsav Kumar, Arnelyn Abdon, 26 August 2010

Why have China and India been able to grow so quickly? This column argues that while the industrial policies pursued by both countries up until the 1980s led to gross mistakes and inefficiencies, China and India would not be where they are now without them. Their export baskets are far more sophisticated and diversified than expected given their income per capita.

Dayanand Arora, Francis Rathinam , Shuheb Khan, 03 July 2010

Despite the recent drop in capital inflows to India, this column argues that once global markets recover from the latest setback, the country will need to contain volatility in foreign portfolio investment. This column provides a detailed analysis of capital inflows to India and policy recommendations for how to deal with them.

Pranab Bardhan, 28 May 2010

Pranab Bardhan of the University of California, Berkeley, talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his new book ‘Awakening Giants, Feet of Clay: Assessing the Economic Rise of China and India’. He argues that significant poverty reduction in both countries is mainly due to domestic factors – not global integration, as most would believe. The interview was recorded at the London School of Economics in May 2010.

Nishith Prakash, Aimee Chin, Mehtabul Azam, 26 May 2010

Does it pay to speak English? This column presents evidence from India that being fluent in English increases the hourly wages of men by 34% and of women by 22%. But the effects vary. Returns are higher for older and more educated workers and lower for less educated, younger workers, suggesting that English is becoming a complement to education.

Dayanand Arora, Francis Rathinam, 11 May 2010

Over-the-counter derivatives were heavily involved in the spread of the global crisis. This column analyses the regulatory framework for such derivatives in India. It argues that moves to tighten the regulatory rope are unnecessary and that a shift to exchange-traded markets may not bring the desired results. Instead, policymakers should strive towards increased disclosure, more transparency, and more standardisation.

José-Luis Peydró, Rajkamal Iyer, 25 April 2010

How important are financial linkages in transmitting shocks across the financial system? This column examines evidence from India and finds that if a bank has a high level of exposure to another failing bank, the probability that there will be a run on the bank increases by 34 percentage points. This effect is even stronger when the financial system is weak.

Ejaz Ghani, Lakshmi Iyer, 23 March 2010

Is conflict a cause or a result of underdevelopment? This column presents research on South Asia – the second most violent region in the world. It argues that conflict is both a cause and an effect. To break out of the trap, policymakers need to reduce poverty while at the same time restraining conflict to enable the much needed economic growth.

Ejaz Ghani, 25 February 2010

Which is the best route to development: Manufacturing or services? This column argues that India’s example of a “services revolution” – rapid growth and poverty reduction led by services – provides inspiration for late-comers to development and challenges the conventional wisdom that industrialisation is the only rapid route to economic development.

Laura Alfaro, Anusha Chari, 12 December 2009

What microeconomic forces drove the structural transformation of India’s economy in recent decades? This column studies firm-level data and portrays a dynamic economy driven by the growth of private and foreign firms. But the Indian economy did not go through an industrial shakeout phase driven by creative destruction. The endurance of incumbent firms prevented a dramatic microeconomic transformation.

Rajiv Kumar, Dony Alex, 27 November 2009

India’s trade collapsed alongside global trade, although its decline started earlier due to a concerted effort by the Reserve Bank of India to cool the economy in 2008. Demand-side factors seem to be the primary culprits. Looking forward, India should overhaul its export promotion mechanisms, shifting the focus to the binding constraints – physical infrastructure problems, skill shortages, procedural complexities, and inadequate access to commercial bank credit, especially for the small and medium exporters.

Rema Hanna, Leigh Linden, 01 September 2009

Education is often cited as a way of “levelling the playing field” for children from disadvantaged minority groups, opening up both social and economic opportunities. But is education itself level? This column provides evidence that Indian schoolteachers may discriminate against minority students.

Rajiv Kumar, 21 March 2009

In the long run, a number of analysts believe that the G20 should replace the G8. This column argues that the G20 summit should focus on producing tangible outcomes that will clean up the financial sector and prevent a protectionist outbreak. Despite their obvious importance, other issues, including grand reforms, can wait.

Esther Duflo, Petia Topalova, Raghab Chattopadhyay, Rohini Pande, Lori Beaman, 08 January 2009

Reservation policies, by giving voters the ability to observe the effectiveness of women leaders, might pave the way for improving women’s access to political office and reducing statistical discrimination. This column summarises India’s experience with quotas for women in public office.

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