The Nobel Prize in economics from an Indian perspective

19 January, 2023

 

Summary from a speech by Hubert Fromlet, Linnaeus University/Sweden on January 8, 2023, at the “International Research Conference” arranged by the Indian Institute of Finance (IIF)            

Ever since its start 55 years ago, 95 economic researchers have been awarded the so-called Nobel Prize1) which is broadly considered as the most prestigious recognition for economic research. Unfortunately, only two female scientists made it so far: American sociologist Elinor Ostrom in 2009 and French-American experimental poverty researcher Esther Duflo in 2019. More female candidates could be found which I various times elaborated on in the Swedish and global press, Indian press included 2).

Presumably, the long-term perspective looks better because of the favorable outlook for more extended female research. This probable global way forward – in reality favored by more and more female academic students and graduates – may also serve as a strategic encouragement for Indian economic and financial research.

Since management research very rarely has been awarded so far and management researchers are not ruled out formally from the Nobel Prize in Economics, one may also imagine that fundamentally important and sustainable management research gradually could move closer to the inner circle of Nobel Prize candidates. If so, also more Indian economists may show up on the candidate lists at some point.

Interesting names from India

For being an emerging country, Indian economists were so far quite well visible in a Nobel-Prize context (with the past winners Amartya Sen in 1998 and more recently Abhijit Banerjee in 2019) – even if more could have happened. Jagdish Bhagwati should have been a Prize Winner already many years ago, micro economist Avinash Dixit at least in the past ten years. A strong Indian name for a future Nobel Award should be in my view behavioral and financial scientist Sendhil Mullainathan (Chicago).

It would be positive if economists in the visibly catching-up country of India  strongly could be provided with conditions that can develop ambitions and research in line with India’s obvious individual potential – also for eventually knocking more frequently on the door of a future Nobel Prize in Economics.

References

 

Hubert Fromlet
Affiliate Professor at the School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University
Editorial board

 

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In memoriam: Professor (Dr) J.D. Agarwal

10 January, 2023

Founder of the Indian Institute of Finance (IIF), Chairman and Director of the IIF, chief editor, etc.

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It would take a lot of pages and time to sum up all the efforts, achievements, research results, high honors and appointments Professor (Dr) J.D. Agarwal has received during his successful life as a researcher. He saw many forthcoming problems on financial markets at an early stage, e.g. money laundering, real estate bubbles, liberalization of capital flows and the impact on bank systems – with focus on crisis situations. Energy and climate change in a financial context were also part of Professor J.D. Agarwal’s research.

Altogether, professor Agarwal’s impressing professional record clearly indicates his direct important role for the Indian society when advising Indian governments and other influential public decision-makers. The indirect important impact of Professor J.D. Agarwal’s work is also obvious. He deserves a lot of recognition for having led many of his well-educated financial students so beneficially to serve the society.

Fortunately, I had the great privilege of having met Professor J.D. Agarwal several times in Delhi. It was always very stimulating to meet and listen to such an intellectual, skilled and at the same time humble colleague. His generous attitudes also included enormous hospitality whenever I came to India, Delhi and the IIF.

J.D. Agarwal’s close family members – some of them I had the pleasure to meet as well, even in Sweden – will certainly work hard and successfully to cultivate and further develop the heritage of Professor J.D. Agarwal’s great lifetime achievements.

Hubert Fromlet
Affiliate Professor at the School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University
Editorial board

 

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China’s corona conundrum

15 December, 2022

What we do know is that fact that corona also reached China from the very beginning. Certain people claim that that corona originates in Wuhan at a laboratory. This, however, nobody knows for sure. Anyway, the first infection cases happened in China. We also know that Chinese political leaders recently changed their policy stance in the fight against corona – from very restrictive to clearly less restrictive. But which were the real driving forces behind these changes?

Management by fear

China was the first country to be confronted with the covid virus roughly three years ago. China also acted as the first country to impose drastic restrictions to stop the disease. This was understandable as big concerns about major contagion already existed directly after the eruption of the crisis.

The objective of control and maximum battle against covid-19 (zero-covid strategy) was close to recently to reduce virus contagion down to almost zero and finally eliminate the virus. But fear remained around all the time and continues to do so – not very strange when considering the population of 1400 million people and the enormous potential of contagion. Consequently, management by (feeling) fear continued – provided with the frequent official political remark that the zero-covid strategy has kept Chinese corona contagions and deaths low when comparing with Western countries. Rumors say that President Xi Jinping himself persistently commanded the application of the zero-covid strategy.

But also transparency so far remained low during the corona crisis. Since I for a long time have been analyzing that the quality of economic statistics was quite limited in China, I applied this questioning experience also to the statistical interpretation of covid infections – right or wrong. I suspect that published corona statistics showed much lower numbers than reality would have shown. Statistical transparency remains by far too low.

Strict restrictions with more and more lockdowns went on for quite some time but citizens finally became impatient and started this fall their protests and even demonstrations. Political leadership continued management by (feeling) fear for a while. Only recently, however, a far-reaching easening of the corona restrictions was introduced allowing more mobility and less control – again driven by management of (feeling) fear. This time probably by fear of social unrest, since the corona situation only a few days before the corona deregulations was worsening. An enormous swing!

What now?

The comprehensive abolition of many covid restrictions in the beginning of December this year seems to be risky. Everything happened so suddenly and quickly. Chinese institutions had no time to prepare. The omicron virus was suddenly explained as quite harmless – opposite to official comments only the week before.

Now, an obvious risk for the future is a fast acceleration of new corona infections and exhausted hospital resources. Such developments could also counteract a visible economic recovery which the whole world is waiting for.

On the other hand, the big future opportunity in the short run may be a beneficiary widening of the Chinese labor force and, thus, more potential for production – particularly if China politically starts to lean a little bit more to the West again.

Summary: China’s corona conundrum remains puzzling. Corona is not dead!

 

I send all readers my best seasonal greetings and a Happy New Year with at least some economic recovery.

Hubert Fromlet
Affiliate Professor at the School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University
Editorial board

 

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