||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2012)|
9 January 1952 |
|Alma mater||University of Delhi (B.A.)
London School of Economics (M.Sc., Ph.D.)
|Awards||Padma Bhushan (2008)
The National Mahalanobis Memorial Medal (1989)
UGC-Prabhavananda Award for Economics (1990)
|Information at IDEAS/RePEc|
Kaushik Basu (born 9 January 1952) is an Indian economist and academic who is Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank. He is on leave from Cornell University where he is the C. Marks Professor of International Studies and Professor of Economics. Prior to that he was the Chairman of the Department of Economics and Director, Center for Analytic Economics at Cornell University. Till July 2012 he served as the Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India. He is also the Jury Chair for the Infosys Prize 2013 for the discipline of Social Sciences.
Early life and education
Kaushik Basu was born in Kolkata, West Bengal, India and schooled at St. Xavier's Collegiate School, Kolkata. In an autobiographical essay he noted that finishing school in 1969 he was caught in a dilemma. His father wanted him to study physics. But those were revolutionary times and he wanted to study nothing. They settled on economics as half-way comprise between physics and nothing. In 1969 he moved to Delhi to do his undergraduate studies in Economics (Honors), with Mathematics as subsidiary, from St. Stephen's College. He then went on to the London School of Economics, to do his M.Sc in Economics completing it in 1974. After earning his master's degree, Basu was supposed to move to England to study law and take over his father's legal practice. But he had fallen in love with the concept of logic and deductive reasoning and became fascinated by Amartya Sen's work. He remained at the London School of Economics for his PhD, from 1974 to 1976. He did his PhD on choice theory under the tutelage of Amartya Sen. He has received honorary doctorates from Lucknow University, Lucknow, in 2011, Assam University, Silchar, in 2012, and Fordham University, New York, in 2013.
Personal life and beliefs
Kaushik Basu is married to Alaka Malwade Basu with two children, Karna and Diksha. Alaka is a professor at Cornell's Department of Development Sociology and a visiting professor at the Centre for the Study of Regional Development at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. Her areas of specialization include Population Studies, Reproductive Health and Family Planning, Gender and Development, Child Health and Mortality, Culture and Demographic Behavior.
Economic and political views
Kaushik Basu believes strongly that good moral qualities are essential for growth and development within the economy. Honesty, trustworthiness and integrity are important qualities that need to be inculcated in an individual for personal development as well as within the society for development. Basu also feels the need to promote quality thinking in government and public debate.
In the 1992 book, Lectures in Industrial Organization Theory, and in some recent works, he has espoused a "focal point approach" to law and economics. The focal point approach argues that a law cannot change the payoffs individuals receive or the games that people play since a law is nothing but some ink on paper (words written down somewhere). Hence, laws can influence behavior to the extent they do only by changing people's expectations of what others may do; and by shifting the focal point of strategic environments. This altered view of law and economics sheds light on how the law impacts on outcomes and why there is such a large gap between the law and its implementation.
Views on bribery
In his paper, 'Why, for a class of Bribes, the act of Giving Bribes should be treated as Legal", Basu refers to certain bribes as 'Harassment Bribes' that are given to get what a person is legally entitled to such as a ration card or a passport. In such cases, only the act of taking a bribe should be illegal. This will cause a divergence in the interests of the bribe giver and taker and the bribe giver will be willing to cooperate to help the bribe taker get caught. This view has been under a lot of public debate.
On completing his PhD in London, Basu lectured briefly at Reading University, and returned to India in 1977, to be Reader in Economics and, later, Professor of Economics at the Delhi School of Economics. Over the years Basu has held visiting professorships at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, the Université catholique de Louvain's Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, and the London School of Economics, where he was a distinguished visitor in 1993. Additionally, he was a visiting scientist at the Indian Statistical Institute, a public university in Kolkata, India.
Before his appointment as the World Bank's Chief Economist, Basu was the Chief Economic Adviser to India's Ministry of Finance while on leave from Cornell University where he is Professor of Economics and the C. Marks Professor of International Studies. A Fellow of the Econometric Society and recipient of the Mahalanobis Memorial Medal, Basu has published scientific papers in development economics, game theory, industrial organization, political economy, the economics of child labor, and crafted the traveler's dilemma.
He has worked on aggregating infinite streams of returns, and the axiomatic structures, pertaining to inter-generational anonymity and different forms of the Pareto principle, that such aggregations can satisfy.
In 1992 he founded the Centre for Development Economics at the Delhi School of Economics, and served as its first Executive Director until 1996.
His entry into government in 2009 was a new experience. In an interview with the Bengali magazine Desh, he said his earlier experience of government, when he was setting up CDE, was not a happy one. Letters and phone calls were met with no response. In desperation he went to see the then Finance Minister, Manmohan Singh. Many bureaucrats saw him waiting to meet the Minister. Thereafter their behavior changed so markedly that he had to toy with the idea of writing to the Minister to visit him periodically. He would, however, not disturb the Minister, just sit in his waiting area and go away.
Kaushik Basu is a columnist for BBC News Online, the Hindustan Times, Business Standard and is the author of several books on economics and a play, Crossings at Benaras Junction, which was published in The Little Magazine (vol. 6, 2005). He is the editor of the Oxford Companion to Economics in India, published by Oxford University Press (February 2007), which is a compendium on the Indian economy. His new book, Beyond the Invisible Hand: Groundwork for a New Economics, was published in 2011 by Princeton University Press and Penguin, India, and is to be published shortly in translation in Italian, Chinese, and Spanish. He also advises the Income Tax Department in its working and accompanies the Finance Minister to many seminars and conferences on tax related issues.
Kaushik Basu is also the president of the Human Development and capabilities association founded by Amartya Sen which promotes high quality research in areas of human development and capability. He is the Editor of Social Choice and Welfare, Associate Editor of Japanese Economic Review, and is on the Board of Editors of the World Bank Economic Review.
Awards and honors
- CORE Fellow, 1981–82
- The National Mahalanobis Memorial Medal, 1989
- UGC-Prabhavananda Award for Economics, 1990
- Fellow of the Econometric Society, 1991–Present
- Padma Bhushan, Government of India, 2008
- D.Litt. (Honoris Causa) for “Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Economics”, University of Lucknow, 2010.
- Elected President-Elect of the Human Development and Capabilities Association.
- D.Litt. (Honoris Causa), Assam University, 2012.
- Doctorate of Humane Letters, Fordham University, 2013. 
- Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa) for "outstanding contribution in theoretical economics both as researcher and as a teacher", IIT Bombay, 2013.
- Elected Fellow of The World Academy of Science, Trieste, 2013.
- Revealed Preference of Government, Cambridge University Press, 1980.
- The Less Developed Economy: A Critique of Contemporary Theory, Basil Blackwell, 1984.
- Agrarian Structure and Economic Development, Harwood Academic Publishers, 1990. This book is part of the series Fundamentals of Pure and Applied Economics edited by J. Lesourne and H. Sonnenschein.
- Economic Graffiti: Essays for Everyone. Oxford University Press. 1991
- Lectures in Industrial Organization Theory. Blackwell Publishers. 1992
- (editor, with Pulin Nayak) Development Policy and Economic Theory, Oxford University Press, 1992.
- (editor, with Mukul Majumdar and Tapan Mitra) Capital, Investment and Development, Basil Blackwell, 1993.
- (editor) Agrarian Questions, Oxford University Press, 1994.
- (editor, with Prasanta Pattanaik and Kotaro Suzumura) Development, Welfare and Ethics, Clarendon Press, 1995.
- Of People, Of Places: Sketches from an Economist's Notebook. Oxford University Press. 1994.
- (editor, with Sanjay Subrahmanyam) Unravelling the Nation: Sectarian Conflict and India's Secular Identity, Penguin paperback, New Delhi, 1996.
- Analytical Development Economics, The MIT Press, 1997, ISBN 0-262-02423-3.
- Prelude to Political Economy: A Study of the Social and Political Foundations of Economics. Oxford University Press. 2000.
- (editor) Readings in Political Economy, Blackwell Publishing, 2003.
- (editor, with Henrik Horn, Lisa Roman and Judith Shapiro) International Labor Standards, Blackwell Publishing, 2003.
- (editor) India's Emerging Economy: Performance and Prospects in the 1990s and Beyond, The MIT Press, 2004, ISBN 0-262-02556-6.
- Collected Papers In Theoretical Economics, Volume 1: Development, Markets, And Institutions. Oxford University Press. 2005. ISBN 0-19-566761-1.
- Collected Papers In Theoretical Economics, Volume 2: Rationality, Games And Strategic Behaviour. Oxford University Press. 2005.
- (editor) Oxford Companion to Economics in India, Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
- An Economist's Miscellany, Oxford University Press, 2011
- Isolate and Proximate Illiteracy, with James E. Foster and S. Subramaniam, Economic and Political Weekly, 2000
- India and the Global Economy, Economic and Political Weekly, 2001
- Is Literacy Shared Within Households? Theory and Evidence from Bangladesh, with Ambar Narayan and Martin Ravillion, 2001
- Stratergy for Economic Reform in West Bengal, with Abhijit Banerjee, Pranab Bardhan, Mrinal Dutta Chaudhuri, Maitreesh Ghatak and Ashok Sanjar Guha, Economic and Political Weekly, 2002
- The Collective Model of the Household and an Unexpected Implication for Child Labor Hypothesis and an Empirical Test, with Ranjan Ray, 2002
- EMS and Partyless Panchayats, with Abhijit Banerjee, Pranab Bardhan, Mrinal Dutta Chaudhuri, Maitreesh Ghatak and Ashok Sanjar Guha, Economic and Political Weekly, 2003
- Contract Farming, with Abhijit Banerjee, Pranab Bardhan, Mrinal Dutta Chaudhuri, Maitreesh Ghatak and Ashok Sanjar Guha, Economic and Political Weekly, 2003
- New Empirical Development Economics, Economic and Political Weekly, 2005
- Beyond Nandigram: Industrialisation in West Bengal, with Abhijit Banerjee, Pranab Bardhan, Mrinal Dutta Chaudhuri, Maitreesh Ghatak and others, Economic and Political Weekly, 2007
- Practicality in Economics, Economic and Political Weekly, 2007
- India's Dilemmas: The Political Economy of Policymaking in a Globalised World, Economic and Political Weekly, 2008
- China and India: Idiosyncratic Paths to High Growth, Economic and Political Weekly, 2009
- The Economics of Foodgrain Management in India , 2010
- India's Foodgrain Policy: An Economic Theory Perspective, Economic and Political Weekly, 2011
- Understanding Inflation and Controlling it, Economic and Political Weekly, 2011
- Why, for a Class of Bribes, the Act of Giving a Bribe should be Treated as Legal, Economic and Political Weekly, 2011
- The evolving dynamics of global economic power in the postcrisis world: Revelations from a new Index of Government Economic Power, with Kaushik Basu, Supriyo De, Rangeet Ghosh and Shweta
- Strategic Theory for Central Banking: How to Influence Exchange Rates without Affecting Reserves, 2011
- "World Bank Appoints Kaushik Basu Chief Economist" (Press release). World Bank. 5 September 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
- [dead link]
- Rasheeda Bhagat. "Business Line : Features / Life : Kaushik gets candid". Thehindubusinessline.com. Retrieved 2012-03-26.
- Business Standard (2009-09-17). "Kaushik Basu tipped for CEA's post". Business-standard.com. Retrieved 2012-03-26.
- Business Standard (2011-05-03). "Lunch with BS: Kaushik Basu". Business-standard.com. Retrieved 2012-03-26.
- Kaushik Basu and Pham Hoang Van (June 1998). "The Economics of Child Labor". American Economic Review 88 (3): 412–427. Bibcode:2003SciAm.289d..84B. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1003-84.
- Kaushik Basu (May 1994). "The Traveler's Dilemma: Paradoxes of Rationality in Game Theory". American Economic Review 84 (2): 391–395.
- "Kaushik Basu appointed eco advisor to FM". The Times Of India. 9 December 2009.
- [dead link]
- Goldstein, Jacob (6 September 2012). "Two-Player Sudoku, Invented By The World Bank's New Chief Economist". NPR's Planet Money. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
- Business Standard (2009-12-08). "Kaushik Basu assumes office as CEA". Business-standard.com. Retrieved 2012-03-26.
- "EPW". Epw.in. Retrieved 2012-03-26.
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