Abhijit Banerjee | Ideas for India

Abhijit Banerjee
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee was educated at the University of Calcutta, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1988. He is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2003 he founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), along with Esther Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan and remains one of the directors of the lab. In 2009 JPAL won the BBVA Foundation "Frontier of Knowledge" award in the development cooperation category. Banerjee is a past president of the Bureau for the Research in the Economic Analysis of Development, a Research Associate of the NBER, a CEPR research fellow, International Research Fellow of the Kiel Institute, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society and has been a Guggenheim Fellow and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow. JPAL received the inaugural BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award for world-class research, and Professor Banerjee received the Infosys Prize 2009 in Social Sciences and Economics. In 2011, he was named one of Foreign Policy magazine's top 100 global thinkers. His areas of research are development economics and economic theory. He is the author of a large number of articles and three books, including Poor Economics ( which won the Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year. He is the editor of a fourth book, and he finished his first documentary film, "The Name of the Disease" in 2006.

Articles By Abhijit Banerjee
The economic and political consequences of India’s demonetisation
Posted On: 26 Jul 2017

The ruling party at the centre won the Uttar Pradesh state election despite its demonetisation policy having some negative economic impacts on the Indian economy. By combining primary data from surveys of wholesale and retail traders, with secondary data on wholesale markets, this column seeks to analyse why this was so.
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Promoting excellence in higher education in India
Posted On: 29 Mar 2017

Topics:   Education

Over the years, the entire system of higher education in India has relentlessly bled talent. In this article, Abhijit Banerjee, Professor of Economics at MIT, discusses why this is so, and what can be done.
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On India’s latest GDP numbers
Posted On: 15 Mar 2017

Tags:   GDP

India’s latest GDP data shows that the economy grew at 7% in the previous quarter, despite demonetisation. In this article, Abhijit Banerjee discusses why the new numbers are likely to be an overestimation.
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Universal basic income: The best way to welfare
Posted On: 27 Sep 2016

Abhijit Banerjee, Professor of Economics at MIT, suggests replacing welfare schemes of the government by a single universal basic income, which entitles every adult resident to a minimum weekly income as long as they verify their identity every week.

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Intimidation, imitation, economics: Why youth are taking to terror
Posted On: 15 Dec 2015

Topics:   Crime , Conflict

Men between the ages of 18 and 35 become terrorists, and it is the same demographic that supplies drug dealers, violent criminals, and foot soldiers of political parties. Abhijit Banerjee, Professor of Economics at MIT, contends that the pattern may be explained by factors such as the power of conformity, intimidation by the local big guy, finding the possibility of violence exciting, and frustration with economic prospects.
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Breaking the silence on growing intolerance
Posted On: 26 Oct 2015

Topics:   Conflict
Tags:   religion

Recent violent incidents in the country indicate a growing intolerance towards those whom we disagree with, as well as an unwillingness of politicians to defend the rights of people to speak and live as they wish. In this article, Abhijit Banerjee, Professor of Economics at MIT, contends that this is not just a Hindu problem or that of religion. There is a need for the political culture to imbibe our long intellectual tradition of liberal thought.
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The need for police reform
Posted On: 09 Sep 2015

The police in India are still mainly governed by the Police Act of 1861. In this article, Abhijit Banerjee, Professor of Economics at MIT, emphasises the need for police reform in order to check misuse of power by the State.
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What´s the plan for MNREGA?
Posted On: 02 Dec 2014

Tags:   MNREGA

The new government’s plans to scale back MNREGA have elicited a mixed response. In this article, Abhijit Banerjee contends that both supporters and critics, and indeed the entire nation, deserve to be told why this is the one programme of the previous government that has been singled out for the axe, if for no other reason than to inform our views about the design of future programmes.
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The new plan body must have a certain oomph
Posted On: 21 Aug 2014

PM Modi has announced that his government plans to scrap the six-decade old Planning Commission and replace it with a more contemporary think tank. In this article, Abhijit Banerjee outlines the various functions that the Planning Commission has served over the years, and presents his view on the type of alternative that may be able to fit the role.
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The Chit fund crisis: Should not put all financial intermediaries in the same bracket
Posted On: 03 May 2013

Topics:   Finance , Crime

The government has announced a bailout package for the participants of unregulated saving schemes that have been put at risk by the current Chit fund crisis in West Bengal. In this article, Banerjee and Ghatak caution against putting deposit-takers and micro-lenders in the same bracket while considering stricter financial regulation to prevent recurrence of such events.
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Right to Food: Let´s get it right
Posted On: 25 Jul 2012

The proposed inter-state resource allocation in the upcoming National Food Security Bill is anti-poor. It will result in unequal treatment of equally poor individuals across rich and poor states. This column explains why, and poses some questions for the way forward.
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