Jean Drèze

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Jean Drèze
Born 1959 (age 54–55)
Belgium
Nationality Indian
Field Development economics
Influences Amartya Sen

Jean Drèze (born Belgium, 1959) is a development economist who has been influential in Indian economic policymaking.[1] He is a naturalized Indian[2] of Belgian origin. His work in India include issues like hunger, famine, gender inequality, child health and education, and the NREGA. He had conceptualised and drafted the first version of the NREGA.

His co-authors include Nobel laureate in economics Amartya Sen, with whom he has written on famine, and Nicholas Stern, with whom he has written on policy reform when market prices are distorted. He is currently an honorary Professor at the Delhi School of Economics, and Visiting Professor at the Department of Economics, Ranchi University. He was a member of the National Advisory Council of India in both first and second term.[3]

Early life[edit]

Jean Drèze is from a prominent Belgian academic family. His father is the economist Jacques Drèze, founder, the Center for Operations Research and Econometrics, at the Université catholique de Louvain.[4] His brother, Xavier Dreze, is a well-known and influential marketing and consumer research scholar at UCLA.[5]

He studied Mathematical Economics at the University of Essex in the 1980s and did his PhD (theoretical economics of cost-benefit analysis) at the Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi.[6]

Career[edit]

Jean Drèze taught at the London School of Economics in the 1980s, his only full-time post, and at the Delhi School of Economics, and had been Visiting Professor at the G.B. Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad. Presently, he is an Honorary Chair Professor of the "Planning and Development Unit" created by the Planning Commission, Government of India, in the Department of Economics, University of Allahabad, India. He has made wide-ranging contributions to development economics and public economics, with special reference to India.

He has worked on many issues relating to development economics including hunger, famine, education, gender inequality, childcare, school feeding, employment guarantee etc. His works combine standard economic methods (such as his articles relating to poverty in India) and tools that are used more commonly by anthropologists (such as his work on the village of Palanpur, Moradabad District, Uttar Pradesh, India with Nicholas Stern, Peter Lanjouw and others, which included him living for a period in village under the same conditions as local people, farming a plot of land and keeping animals as recounted with Naresh Sharma in the article "Sharecropping in a North Indian Village", Journal of Development Studies, Oct. 1996). The combination of extensive field work and qualitative analysis of everyday life and poverty, along with quantitative work makes his work distinctive in the field of economics. He uniquely brings to the table is extensive fieldwork—few economists live as much in the country's villages—combined with outstanding analytical skills.[7]

It is not coincidence that Amartya Sen coauthored on a number of major publications on India, given his unique contacts with the grassroots and has even remarked that the "agreeable thing" about working with Dreze is that "he does most of the work and I get most of the credit".

PROBE Report[edit]

A key work widely cited that Dreze worked on as part of a small team was the primary education study of key states in northern India typically referred to by its short name, The PROBE Report, or The Public Report on Basic Education (1999). It remains a key reference due to the lack of similarly comprehensive studies using grassroots development specialists.

He has lived in India since 1979 and became an Indian citizen in 2002.

Social activism[edit]

Dreze is well known for his commitment to social justice, both in India and internationally. During and after his PhD in India, he adopted a lifestyle of voluntary simplicity.[8] While in the LSE, he frequently slept rough and lived with homeless squatters, helping to start a squatters movement in 1988 that opened buildings to the homeless and defied eviction.[9] He wrote a short book about this movement and the life of the homeless in London, called No. 1 Clapham Road: the diary of a squat.[10] Dreze is known for refusing luxury and, while doing fieldwork, still lives and works in the same conditions as his respondents. In Delhi he and his wife Bela Bhatia had a one room house in a jhuggi.[11]

Apart from academic work he has been actively involved in many social movements including the peace movement, the Right to Information campaign that led to the Right to Information Act in India, the Right to Food campaign in India,[12] among others.

During the 1990–1991 Iraq War, he joined a peace camp stationed on the Iraq-Kuwait border. His 1992 article with Haris Gazdar, "Hunger and Poverty in Iraq, 1991", was one of the first assessments of Iraq's economy after the Gulf war, and an early warning about the potential human costs of the Iraq sanctions. Another book that came out of Iraq is War and Peace in the Gulf, edited by Bela Bhatia, Jean Dreze and Kathy Kelly.

See also[edit]

Publications[edit]

Books

  • Drèze J. and Sen, A.K. 1989. Hunger and Public Action. Oxford University Press.
  • (as Jean Delarue) 1990. No.1 Clapham Road: The diary of a squat. Peaceprint.
  • Drèze J. and Sen, A. (eds.). 1991. The Political Economy of Hunger. Three volumes. Oxford University Press.
  • Ahmad E, Drèze J, Hills J, Sen A K (eds.) 1991. Social Security in Developing Countries. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Drèze J. and Sen, A. 1995. The political Economy of Hunger: selected essays. Clarendon Press. (abdridged)
  • Drèze J. and Sen, A.K. 1995. India: Economic Development and Social Opportunity. Oxford University Press.
  • Dreze, Jean and Amartya Sen, (eds), 1997. Indian Development: Selected Regional Perspectives. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  • Drèze J., M. Samson and S. Singh. 1997. The Dam and the Nation: Displacement and Resettlement in the Narmada Valley. Delhi: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-564004-7.
  • A. De and J Drèze. 1999. Public Report on Basic Education in India. The PROBE report. Oxford University Press. 0195648706
  • Drèze J. (ed.) 1999. The Economics of Famine. International Library of Critical Writings in Economics. London: Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Bhatia B, J. Drèze & K. Kelly. 2001. War and Peace in the Gulf: Testimonies of the Gulf Peace Team. London: Spokesman Books. [published on the tenth anniversary of the Team's attempt to stop the Gulf War through non-violent occupation].
  • Drèze J. and Sen, A.K. 2002. India: Development and Participation. Oxford University Press.
  • Drèze J. and Sen, A.K. 2013 An Uncertain Glory, India and Its Contradictions. Penguin.

Articles

  • Dreze, Jean and Haris Gazdar, 1997. "Uttar Pradesh: the Burden of Inertia", in Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen, (eds) Indian Development: Selected Regional Perspectives, New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  • Drèze, J. 1990. Famine Prevention in India. In Drèze J. and Sen, A. (eds.) The Political Economy of Hunger. vol 2. Oxford University Press.
  • Stern, N. and Drèze J. 1991. Policy Reform, Shadow Prices and Market Prices. Journal of Public Economics.
  • Drèze J., 1991. Public Action for Social Security: Foundations and Strategy. In Ahmad E, Drèze J, Hills J, Sen A K (eds.). Social Security in Developing Countries. Clarendon Press, Oxford.
  • Drèze J. and H. Gazdar. 1992. Hunger and Poverty in Iraq, 1991. World Development.
  • Drèze J., M. Murthi and A-C. Guio. 1995. Mortality, Fertility and Gender Bias in India. Population and Development Review.
  • Dreze, Jean and Naresh Sharma, 1996, "Sharecropping in a North Indian Village", Journal of Development Studies, 33(1):1–40.
  • Drèze J. and P.V. Srinivasan. 1997. Widowhood and Poverty in Rural India. Journal of Development Economics.
  • Drèze J. and Sen, A.K. (eds.) 1997. Indian Development: Selected Regional Perspectives. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  • Dreze, Jean and Naresh Sharma, "Palanpur: Population, Society Economy", chapter 1 in Peter Lanjouw and Nicholas Stern, eds., Economic Development in Palanpur over Five Decades, 1998. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Dreze, Jean, Peter Lanjouw and Naresh Sharma. 1998. "Economic Development in Palanpur, 1957–93", chapter 2 in Peter Lanjouw and Nicholas Stern, eds., Economic Development in Palanpur over Five Decades. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Dreze, Jean and Naresh Sharam, "Tenancy", chapter 8 in Peter Lanjouw and Nicholas Stern, eds., Economic Development in Palanpur over Five Decades, 1998. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Dreze, Jean, Peter Lanjouw and Naresh Sharma, "Credit", chapter 9 in Peter Lanjouw and Nicholas Stern, eds., Economic Development in Palanpur over Five Decades, 1998. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Baland, J-M. Drèze J. and L. Leruth. 1999. Daily Wages and Piece Rates in Agrarian Economies. Journal of Development Economics.
  • Drèze J. and R. Khera. 2000. Crime, Gender and Society in India. Population and Development Review.
  • Drèze J. and G.G. Kingdon. 2001. School Participation in Rural India. Review of Development Economics 5(1), 1-24.
  • Drèze J. 2001. Fertility, Education and Development: Evidence from India. Population and Development Review.
  • Dreze, Jean "Patterns of Literacy and their Social Context", (originally written 199?), in Veena Das (ed.), 2004, Oxford Handbook of Indian Sociology, New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  • Dreze, Jean, 2002, "On Research and Action", Economic and Political Weekly, March 2, 37 (9). New Delhi.
  • Deaton A. and Drèze J. 2002.Poverty and Inequality in India: A Reexamination. Economic and Political Weekly, 7 September. 3729-3748.
  • Drèze J. 2003. Food Security and the Right to Food. In S. Mahendra Dev, K.P. Kannan and N. Ramachandran (eds). Toward a Food Secure India. New Delhi: Institute for Human Development.
  • Drèze, Jean and Aparajita Goyal. 2003. Future of Mid-Day Meals. Economic and Political Weekly, November 1.
  • Drèze, Jean 2004. * Democracy and the Right to Food. Economic and Political Weekly. 1723–1731.
  • Deaton, Angus and Dreze, J. 2008. "Nutrition In India: Facts and Interpretations"

Opinion pieces

"On the mythology of social policy", The Hindu, 2014.

"The Gujarat Muddle", The Hindu, 2014.

"The Gujarat Middle", The Hindu, 2014.

"The Quiet Grip of Caste", Hindustan Times, 2012.


On NREGA

On Food Security

Interviews

Book Reviews

References[edit]

External links[edit]