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    Last week, IDFC Institute Resident Senior Fellow Vivek Dehejia spoke to the Institute of Policy Studies, Sri Lanka on the NITI Aayog/IDFC Institute enterprise survey that seeks to assess the regulatory environment for manufaturing enterprises in individual Indian states. He spoke to the importance of the survey in driving state-level reform to improve the ea...
    In this article for the New Indian Express, IDFC Institute Visiting Fellow Shankkar Aiyar writes on Brexit and why all bets are off on globalisation. Excerpts below: "In 1992, Bill Clinton famously said “It is the economy, stupid.” The clever coinage of James Carville came to stay as one of politics’ much-abused aphorisms. On Friday, British voters signalled ...
    In this Times of India article, Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, Government of India, argues that India needs to provide good systems for its cities in order for them to deliver growth and jobs. Excerpts below: "Over the next three decades, India needs to sustain a high growth trajectory of over 7% GDP growth accompanied by massive job creation to deliver good quality o...
    IDFC Institute's Resident Senior Fellow Vivek Dehejia recently spoke in Sri Lanka at the Institute of Policy Studies about improving Ease of Doing Business. As this Daily FT article, titled "Good economic policy is good politics: Top Indian economist", explained:  "A top Indian economist last week emphasised that good economic policy is good politics and urged...
    Tathagata Satpathy, Lok Sabha Member, joined us at the sidelines of the IDFC Institute Dialogues on Political Economy to discuss the importance of the role of the Rajya Sabha in India's democracy, bottom-up electoral reforms, and the suitability of India's First Part the Post voting system. ...
    IDFC Institute Visiting Fellow Shankkar Aiyar  writes in The New Indian Express about the impacts of former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao. Excerpts below: "... Contemporary discourse about reforms is dense with alibis about the difficulty in implementing reforms. It is true that the 1991 reforms were compelled by an unprecedented crisis. What is e...
    IDFC Institute Visiting Fellow Shankkar Aiyar  writes in First Post that the impact of the exit of Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan has been exaggerated. Excerpts below: "Someday someone somewhere in or out of government will put together a manual on “How Not to Do Things”.  And R3XIT, the exit of Raghuram Rajan from RBI, will find a...
    IDFC Institute Resident Senior Fellow Vivek Dehejia  writes in Mint on the exit of Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan. Excerpts below. "... The hyperbole unleashed since the Saturday announcement that he’s not seeking a renewal to his term as Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor has bordered on lunacy... Now, in the aftermath, we’re bein...
    Ruchir Sharma, Head of Emerging Markets at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, writes in The Times of India that the manner in which India's small cities are growing is causing problems for development. Excerpts below. "India... has a severe problem developing second-tier cities, which reflects some of the nation’s basic flaws, including a state that meddl...
    Ravi Venkatesan, Founder and Chairman of Social Venture Partners India and Chairman of Bank of Baroda, joined us at the sidelines of the IDFC Institute Political Economy Dialogues to discuss the rule of law, spurring reform in the legal system, banking, and the role of government and citizens in development. ...
    This Economist article explains why "'universal basic income', an unconditional government payment given to all citizens, as a supplement to or replacement for wages" is basically flawed. "Since 2000 economic growth across the rich world has failed to generate decent pay increases for most workers. Now there is growing fear of a more fundamental threat to the world...
    Yoginder K. Alagh, in this Indian Express article, argues that "recognition [by] senior policymakers in the government that many so-called large villages are really urban areas but are not classified as towns on account of various reasons is a step in the right direction. Demographers from the 1990s onwards have questioned the definition of rural and urban a...
    Sohini Chatterjee builds a case for Evidence-based Policymaking in India, in this The Wire article, for the preservation of a distinction between the powers of the organs of the state.  She argues that, "the degree of permissible substantive intervention by the courts in issues of policy and resource allocation is a subject of debate. In the judicial review of admi...
    Visiting Fellow, Shankkar Aiyar in this The New Indian Express article argues that "the tragedy is about lives lost, about families disrupted, about careers interrupted and about aspirations incapacitated. What must anger Indians is that the script has not changed for the past 15 years. Consider the data to appreciate the magnitude of the crisis. B...
    Senior Associate Vaidehi Tandel, in this First Post article argues that "In January this year, the Maharashtra government announced a proposal to amend the Rent Control Act that would free residential properties above 847 square feet and commercial properties above 540 square feet from protection under rent control. This move came under heavy criticism from leaders be...
    CEO and Senior Fellow Reuben Abraham, and James Crabtree, in this The Straits Times article, argue that "these visions of technological utopia face a real risk of turning into expensive delusions... India announced the names of a dozen more smart cities last month, bringing to 33 the number of urban areas that will now spend a reported US$12 billion (S$16.3 bi...
    In this Mint article, Vivek Dehejia, Resident Senior Fellow with IDFC Institute "explored in depth two popular explanations for this phenomenon. One explanation, known as secular stagnation, hypothesizes that it is deficient aggregate demand which explains the protracted stagnation in output and employment... The second popular explanation points to the slowin...
    This Cityscope blogpost discusses the story of the coming urban explosion which is about the rise of medium-sized cities.  "...The past decade has seen the number of Asian intermediary cities explode from 342 to 629 — a far faster rate of expansion than seen for the region’s larger cities, which grew from 137 to 267 during the same period. The numbers for ...
    In this The Indian Express article, Praveen Chakravarty, Visiting Senior Fellow at IDFC Institute, with Ajit Ranade explain how scrapping of tax treaty with Mauritius will boost India's tax reform agenda. The authors argue "that the end of the tax treaty with Mauritius will perhaps have the most far-reaching impact on India’s economy as well as society.  ...
    This Open Magazine article talks about the Modi government's reform challenges beyond the high growth number.  The article quotes Vivek Dehejia, Resident Senior Fellow at IDFC Institute, who explains the political economy behind government's strategy: “If you have a democracy and you have a large poor population, then for a bulk of this p...
    Rohini Nilekani, Founder-Chairperson of Arghyam, joined us at the sidelines of the IDFC Institute Dialogues on Political Economy to discuss problems with access to sufficient and quality water in India, and innovative approaches that have been successful in addressing this issue. ...
    Ila Patnaik, Professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, joined us at the sidelines of the IDFC Institute Political Economy Dialogues to discuss issues with India's GDP calculations and the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC). ...
    In this Mint article, Vivek Dehejia, Resident Senior Fellow with IDFC Institute argues that "the US stands on the cusp of a presidential election which has already upended conventional wisdom more times than one can count and which may do so yet again. In the bargain, the credibility of a media establishment and a commenting class whose liberal bia...
    Visting Fellow, Shankkar Aiyar in this The New Indian Express article argues "If the taxpayer is asked to and is obliged to part with his monies for a specific purpose, is the taxpayer not entitled for a clean statement—a left and right-hand column on total cess collected under all heads, segment-wise deployment of cess collected and outcomes achieved statement...
    In a recent article in the Indian Express, Bibek Debroy discussed some of the problems with the way urban and rural is defined in India and the implications these definitions have for public goods and service delivery. Debroy pointed to the fact that rural is a residual category, having no specific definition. In other words, all settlements and ar...
    In this Economic Times article, Sanjeev Sanyal, Visitng Fellow at IDFC Institute, says that recent survey data suggest a big change in India’s demographic trajectory. "According to recently released Sample Registration System data, the country’s total fertility rate (TFR) stood at 2.3 in 2013...In India, this is around 2.3 due to higher infant mortality and a skewed...
    In this article published in the New Indian Express, Shankar Aiyar, Visiting Fellow at IDFC Institute, evaluates the performance of the UPA government on its completing two years.  He writes that the first two years of UPA have been free of large corruption scandals. At the same time, there is some uncertainty about the recovery of the economy. One o...
    In this blog post, Branko Milanovic re-visits inequality in India by using income based surveys of Indian population for 2004 and 2011. "The gap between the slow moving survey mean and much faster changes in per capita GDP was also explained by the failure of NSS to capture top incomes. The top incomes may have been pulling up the mean (presumably reflected in GDP ...
    Advisory Board member, Manish Sabharwal writes in this World Bank blog that changing the ways that India’s benefits regimes are funded would be the most impactful way to reform the country’s labour market. "When people think of labour law reform in India they tend to think of the laws around hiring and firing; specifically, reforming Chapter 5B of the Industria...

    23 May 2016

    The Times Table

    In this Outlook article, Praveen Chakravarty argues that increasingly voter disenchantment with the national parties is carrying through state and national elections. "Clearly, both (Congress and BJP) lost more assembly seats to regional parties in these four states between 2014 and 2016. This is perhaps the biggest takeaway for the 2019 Lok Sab...
    In this Mint article, Vivek Dehejia of IDFC Institute shares his reflections on the recent assembly elections in India and what they augur for the governing BJP and the opposition Congress parties. (Note that in the original submission the headline had a question mark) "The mightily impressive win in Assam, and a good showing (in votes if not yet in seats) in ...
    In this New Indian Express article, Shankkar Aiyar writes about the need for a credible alternative at the national level that is neither the freebie populists nor it cannot be the caste warriors. "Drill down the granular details of the polls to appreciate the magnitude of the slide. In the 10 states that went to polls after May 2014, the Congress won just 217...
    Mihir Sharma, Opinion Editor at Business Standard, joined us at the sidelines of the IDFC Institute Political Economy Dialogues to discuss shortfalls of using Special Purpose Vehicles as governance tools, alternative approaches, and building state capacity. ...
    In this India Spend article, Rithika Kumar and Swapnil Bhandari, Senior Analyst and Associate at IDFC Institute present their analysis of the electoral results in Assam, Kerala, West Bengaland Tamil Nadu.  Excerpts from the article are below: "Three factors worked for the BJP in Assam........a wave of anti-incumbency; pre-poll alliances ...

    19 May 2016

    Two Years of Reform

    In this Indian Express article, Dr. Arvind Panagariaya, Vice Chairman, NITI Ayog reflects on the economic reforms initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi led NDA Government durings its two years in office. The article opines that "Substantial progress progress has been made towards restoring economic momentum. Much remains to be done"  Excerpt...
    In this Indiaspend article, Swapnil Bhandari and Rithika Kumar of IDFC Institute write about the anti-incumbency vote for BJP in Assam against the backdrop of high voter turnout. "We analysed the contested vote share of BJP and Congress in the last two elections–2011 state assembly and the 2014 Lok Sabha elections–and compared it to the voter turnout in 2014. V...
    Visitng Fellow, Shankkar Aiyar in this The New Indian Express article looks at the current tenure of the Governor of Reserve Bank of India, Dr. Raghuram Govind Rajan and gives a politico-economic lowdown on his accomplishments as the Governor. While lauding his policy moves for making the banking system more accountable and transparent he...
    Resident Fellow, Vivek Dehejia writes in the Mint about the core topic of discussion in the International Monetary Fund's April edition of the World Economic Outlook, "Too Slow for Too Long". He writes "The IMF estimates that, between 2010 and the third quarter of 2015, net capital inflows into emerging economies fell by a whopping $1.123 trillion for a sample of 45 e...
    In this Guardian Cities article, see incredible images of how the Pearl River Delta - the world's largest continuous urban region that encompasses Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shenzhen - has transformed from 1979 to now....
    Raghuram Rajan makes a critical point that lies at the heart of IDFC Institute's work - that while policy making is easy, getting political acceptance for implementation is the harder part. Read the Economic Times article here. ...
    This week, our Resident Senior Fellow Vivek Dehejia joined Kalpana Kochhar (IMF), Derek Scissors (American Enterprise Institute) and Milan Vaishnav (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) to discuss Modinomics at Two: Is it Working for India and its Citizens? Watch the video below! ...

    11 May 2016

    Delays at the Police

    In this blogpost, Renuka Sane and Neha Sinha discuss why we need to look beyond statistics on pendency and disposal of cases, and instead measure the other steps along the way from crime to conviction.  "Our ultimate objective, however, is to create deterrence against crime. The criminal justice system is the interlocking institutional infrastructure of laws, polic...
    The Guardian documents the astonishing, controversial rise of Shenzhen, an "unremarkable Chinese settlement that ‘smelled of countryside’" to become to world's largest megalopolis.   "Shenzhen, a city of around 11 million people, is now merely one element of the Pearl River Delta, the world’s largest continuously urbanised area with a ...
    In this article for Mint, IDFC Institute Resident Senior Fellow Vivek Dehejia argues that NITI Aayog's presentation to the government - Creating a Movement for Change - should be evaluated for what it is supposed to be, a roadmap for the bureaucracy to function better, and not be misconstrued as a statement of economic policy.   "Judged on its own te...
    In this Business Standard article Praveen Chakravarty and TV Mohandas Pai argue that "the notion that there is one right valuation for a company is absurd. To pretend that the government is the best judge of this valuation and to use that as the basis for persecution is tyrannical." While the government has the right to investigate investors' source of funds, ...
    In this New Indian Express article IDFC Institute Visiting Fellow Shankkar Aiyar highlights some of the persistent problems that bedevil the Indian state and the lack of political will to address them. Vacancies in government postings, a failure to bring economic offenders to book, contamination of the Yamuna and encroachment of government land are just a few nev...
    Saskia Sassen, on the occasion of 100th anniversary of Jane Jacobs' birth, in this The Guardian article  looks back on Jacobs' inslights on cities. "She pursued a line of questioning quite different from what I usually get. She continously returned to the issue of “place”, and its importance when considering the implementation of urban ...
    In this New Indian Express Article , Visiting Fellow at IDFC Institute,Shankkar Aiyar says that " the system and discourse [on draught management] focus too much on the consequence and too little on the causatives" "Drought was discussed last week too—in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. There was much politics—who did better on what. There...
    Emily Washington in this Market Urbanism article says that the "regulations that restrict urban development likewise reduce opportunities for innovation and specialization by limiting cities’ population size and density." and "removing land use regulations will allow greater gains from trade as more people are allowed to live in important economic centers like New Y...
    In this ET article, Charu Khanna emphasizes the importance of change management in getting public support when working for the common good. "Organizational Behavior 101 begins with the argument that successful change needs a change champion. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was this and more. Besides advocating for the change from a variety of media, he and his ...
    In this Quartz article, Parag Khanna emphasizes megacities and megacity regions are "magnets for regional wealth....[and have] been the most significant contributor to shifting the world’s focal point of economic activity". These cityregions "deserve more nuanced treatment on our maps than simply as homogeneous black dots" he says. "This map fr...
    Shout out to everyone in the DC area! Visiting Fellow in Political Economy, Vivek Dehejia will be a member of a distinguished panel on "Modinomics at Two", moderated by Sadanand Dhume with Milan Vaishnav Derek Scissors and Kalpana Kochhar at the American Enterprise Institute on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. For those unable to attend, the event will ...
    Visiting Fellow, Shankkar Aiyar writes in the Indian Express: " This week, Niti Aayog put out a perspective on where it sees India in 2032. It is not called a plan, nor is it called vision-whatever.  It is simply titled ‘Creating a Movement for Change’. Without much ado, it lists aims, objectives and an agenda of sorts. Conventional wisdom suggests forward pl...
    Abvisory Board member, Manish Sabharwal along with co-author Sumit Kumar, write about the need for a strong apprenticeship program in India. They write "We would like to make the case that an important solution to India's challenges of education, employment and employability lies in state governments adopting apprenticeships on a large scale....The quest for...

    25 April 2016

    It’s the Story, Stupid

    In this Mint article, Resident Fellow at IDFC Institute, Vivek Dehejia talks about how story telling impacts electoral outcomes. He writes "Reagan told Americans that, if elected, he would get government off the back of average folk and empower them to take control of their own lives. Without needing to invoke Friedrich von Hayek or Milton Friedman, he evoked a heady,...
    This World Economic Forum piece highlights the status of women's land rights across the developing world, and the benefits of women owning land. Excerpts below: "Women account for nearly half of the developing world's farmers, yet they own far less land than men despite growing evidence that increasing female land ownership can boost food production, education lev...
    In this Observer article, Alex Tabarrok responds to a question on Quora, asking what the US needs to do to create a more sustainable middle class. Excerpts below: "I worry most of all that we are becoming a rent-seeking society. The idea of rent-seeking is best explained by the old metaphor of the pie. There are two ways to get a larger slice of the pie. Grow the p...
    Praveen Chakravarty  writes in Mint that priority sector lending "has the potential to increase efficiency in banking without sacrificing on larger inclusion and equity goals". Excerpts below: "A bee-keeping farmer can be given Rs.2 crore in loans but a paddy farmer can only get Rs.50 lakh. For buying a home in a town with a population of more than a mill...
    Congratulations to Reuben Abraham, CEO and Senior Fellow at IDFC Institute, for his position as Asia Fellow at Milken Institute. The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank determined to increase global prosperity by advancing collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs and improve health. They do this through independent, data...

    21 April 2016

    Beyond Econ 101

    In this New York Times piece, Paul Krugman argues that "even when Econ 101 is right, that doesn’t always mean that it’s important". Excerpts below: "...a phenomenon I’ll call “101 boosterism.”...The name is a takeoff on Noah Smith’s clever writing about “101ism”, in which economics writers present Econ 101 stuff about supply, demand, and h...



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