Urbanisation in India is taking many twists and turns. Organised manufacturing is moving out of urban areas, while unorganised manufacturing is transitioning towards urban areas. As the fourth greatest energy consumer in the world, how the country manages this ongoing industrialisation and urbanisation process will have important environmental implications. This column looks at the relationship between growth, geography, and energy efficiency in manufacturing in India. Electricity consumption per unit of output has declined in urban and rural areas, but these overall trends mask substantial variation between states and substantial potential for further efficiency improvements in energy-intensive industries.
Ejaz Ghani, Arti Grover Goswami, William Kerr, Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - 00:00
Maya Eden, Paul Gaggl, Friday, October 23, 2015 - 00:00
Conventional wisdom suggests that there is too little ICT capital in poor countries and evidence show that they are indeed relatively less ICT abundant. This column discusses new evidence that this variation is not unwarranted – deviations from an estimated baseline level of ICT capital are not correlated with per capita income. This suggests that there are no systematic barriers to ICT adoption in low-income countries. They have less ICT capital since their economies are different.
Arvind Subramanian, Thursday, July 16, 2015 - 00:00
In December, the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference will be held in Paris. This column discusses how India – despite its image as a recalcitrant negotiator – has exhibited considerable initiative towards improving its environmental footprint in recent years. Along with a host of actions targeting emissions, deforestation, and alternative energy source, India has surpassed many developed nations in responding to recent declines in international energy prices. These efforts mean India will be able to make a substantial contribution towards the success of the negotiations in Paris
Arvind Subramanian, Monday, June 15, 2015 - 00:00
There is a lot of discussion of the right course of monetary policy for India. In this column, India’s Chief Economic Adviser argues that the country’s real policy interest rates have diverged significantly for consumers and producers, and are unusually high for the latter. The real rate is 2.4% based on the consumer price index, but 7.5% based on the GDP deflator. There is a clear need for more consideration of the appropriate measure of restrictiveness in these unusual times.
Ejaz Ghani, William Kerr, Alex Segura, Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - 00:00
The vast informal sector in India affects everything from poverty to growth. This column presents new facts on how Indian job growth in manufacturing is concentrated in informal tradable industries, especially one-person establishments. These features are most closely linked to the urbanisation of informal Indian manufacturing, but subcontracting and rising female participation also appear to play noteworthy roles.
Vincent Somville, Lore Vandewalle, Monday, May 11, 2015 - 00:00
Making transfers to bank accounts instead of paying cash could potentially enhance savings. This column tests this hypothesis using a randomised trial from India. The evidence suggests that being paid on the account increases the balance by around 110% within three months of weekly payments. The individuals who were paid in cash do not save more in other assets, such as cash at home, but increase consumption.
Seema Jayachandran, Rohini Pande, Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 00:00
Indian children are more likely to be malnourished than their counterparts in Sub-Saharan Africa, despite higher standards of living. This column uses data on child height – an anthropometric measure of net nutrition – from Africa and India to explore how parental gender preferences affect the likelihood of children being malnourished. Indian firstborn sons are found to have a height advantage over African firstborn sons, and the height disadvantage appears first in second-born children, increasing for subsequent births. This suggests that a preference for a healthy male heir influences fertility decisions and how parents allocate resources between their children.
Clément Imbert, Saturday, January 10, 2015 - 00:00
Kaushik Basu, Barry Eichengreen, Poonam Gupta, Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - 00:00
Amir Attaran, Roger Bate, Ginger Zhe Jin, Aparna Mathur, Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 00:00
Ejaz Ghani, William Kerr, Stephen D. O'Connell, Thursday, October 2, 2014 - 00:00
Jeffrey Frankel, Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - 00:00
Daniel Bennett, Wes Yin, Thursday, August 14, 2014 - 00:00
Many drugs sold in poor countries are counterfeit or substandard, endangering patients’ health and fostering drug resistance. Since drug quality is difficult to observe, pharmacies in weakly regulated markets may have little incentive to improve quality. However, larger markets allow firms to reorganise production and invest in technologies that reduce the marginal cost of quality. This column discusses how the entry of a new pharmacy chain in India led incumbents to both cut prices and raise drug quality.
Ejaz Ghani, William Kerr, Ishani Tewari, Friday, July 11, 2014 - 00:00
Some cities grow through specialisation others through diversity. This column measures specialisation and diversity for the manufacturing and services sectors in India. It finds that Indian districts with a broader set of industries exhibit greater employment growth. This is particularly true for low population densities, rural areas and unorganised sector, reflecting knowledge flow and the inclusive nature of employment growth due to diversity.
Piritta Sorsa, Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - 00:00
Female labour market participation in India is lower than in other emerging markets. This column discusses the dynamics and causes of this issue. Many women have dropped out of the labour market in the recent years, or work in low-paying jobs without social benefits and with large wage differentials. Raising female labour force participation could boost economic growth up to 2.4% with a package of pro-growth and pro-women policies.
Sean Dougherty, Veronica Frisancho, Kala Krishna, Thursday, May 8, 2014 - 00:00
Recent supreme court action has reintroduced labour reform into India’s public debate. This column estimates productivity effects of deregulation exploiting state-level variation in policy and plant-level data. Even modest deregulation has improved total factor productivity substantially; this sets the scene for a deep liberalising reform
Poonam Gupta, Arvind Panagariya, Monday, March 17, 2014 - 00:00
Do voters care about economic outcomes? Evidence on this question, especially in the context of developing countries, is rather scant. This column reports the findings from analysis of the 2009 parliamentary elections in India. Voters favoured parties that delivered high growth in their states and rejected those that did not. The authors also find that voters preferred candidates who had served in the parliament before, were wealthy, educated, and affiliated with a large party.
Neeraj Kaushal, Felix Muchomba, Tuesday, December 24, 2013 - 00:00
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 W Klein, Tuesday, December 24, 2013 - 00:00
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, Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 00:00
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.