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Growth, trade, development, institutions, aid, oil, India, Africa, the WTO, intellectual property
Arvind Subramanian is a senior fellow (on leave) at the Center for Global Development. He is the chief economic advisor to the government of India.
Greenprint: A New Approach to Cooperation on Climate Change, written with Aaditya Mattoo, was published by CGD in 2012; Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of China's Economic Dominance was published in September 2011. Foreign Policy named him one of the world's top 100 global thinkers in 2011. India Today magazine named him one of India’s top 35 “Masters of the Mind” over the last 35 years.
He has written on growth, trade, development, institutions, aid, oil, India, China, Africa, and the World Trade Organization. He has published widely in academic and other journals, including the American Economic Review (Papers and Proceedings), Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of International Economics, Journal of Monetary Economics, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Economic Growth, Journal of Development Economics, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Oxford Review of Economic Policy, International Monetary Fund Staff Papers, Foreign Affairs, World Economy, and Economic and Political Weekly. He is currently ranked among the top 2 percent of the world’s academic economists in terms of citations of academic research, according to the widely used REPEC rankings.
He has also published or been cited in leading magazines and newspapers, including the Economist, Financial Times, Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and New York Review of Books. He contributes frequently to the Financial Times and is a columnist for India's leading financial daily, Business Standard.
He advises the Indian government in different capacities, including as a member of the Finance Minister's Expert Group on the G-20. Subramanian was assistant director in the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund. He served at the GATT (1988–92) during the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations and taught at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government (1999–2000) and at Johns Hopkins' School for Advanced International Studies (2008–10).
He obtained his undergraduate degree from St. Stephens College, Delhi; his MBA from the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad, India; and his M.Phil. and D.Phil. from the University of Oxford, UK.
“Does Aid Affect Governance?” American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, (with Raghuram Rajan), May 2007.
“Africa’s Growth Prospects: Benchmarking the Constraints,” NBER Working Paper, 13120 (with Simon Johnson and Jonathan Ostry).
“Foreign Capital and Economic Development,” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, March 2007, (with Eswar Prasad and Raghuram Rajan).
“How to Help Poor Countries,” Foreign Affairs, (with Nancy Birdsall and Dani Rodrik), 2005.
“Aid and Growth: What Does the Cross-Section Evidence Really Show?” National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Working Paper, No. 11513, (with Raghuram Rajan), 2005; forthcoming Review of Economics and Statistics.
“What Undermines Aid’s Impact on Growth,” NBER Working Paper, No. 11657, (with Raghuram Rajan), 2005.
“Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Over Geography and Integration in Economic Development,” Journal of Economic Growth, (with Dani Rodrik and Francesco Trebbi), 2004.
“Saving Iraq from its Oil,” Foreign Affairs, (with Nancy Birdsall), 2004.
“What Determines Long-Run Macroeconomic Stability? Democratic Institutions,” IMF Working Staff Papers, (with Shanker Satyanath), 2007.
“The Natural Resource Curse: An Illustration from Nigeria,” NBER Working Paper, with Xavier Sala-i-Martin), 2003.
“The Primacy of Institutions and What it does or does not Mean,” Finance and Development, (with Dani Rodrik), June 2003.
“Who can Explain the Mauritian Miracle: Meade, Romer, Sachs or Rodrik,” In Search of Prosperity, edited by Dani Rodrik, Princeton University Press, (with Devesh Roy), 2002.
“Policies, Enforcement, and Customs Evasion: Evidence from India,” IMF Working Paper, (with Prachi Mishra and Petia Topalova), forthcoming.
“The Intriguing Relationship between Growth and Institutions in India,” Oxford Review of Economic Policy, forthcoming.
“India’s Pattern of Development: What Happened, What Follows,” Journal of Monetary Economics, (with K. Kochhar, U. Kumar, R. Rajan, and I. Tokatlidis), 2006.
“From ‘Hindu Growth’ to Productivity Surge: The Mystery of the Indian Growth Transition,” IMF Staff Papers, (with Dani Rodrik), 2004.
“Why India can grow at 7 Percent a year or More?” Economic and Political Weekly, (with Dani Rodrik), 2004.
Trade and Intellectual Property
“The WTO promotes trade strongly, but unevenly,” Journal of International Economics, (with Shang-Jin Wei), 2007.
“Why Prospects for Doha Trade Talks are not Bright?” Finance and Development, (with Aaditya Mattoo), March 2005.
“Medicines, Patents and TRIPs,” Finance and Development, March 2004.
“The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act and Its Rules of Origin: Generosity Undermined?” The World Economy, Vol. 26, No. 6, (with Aaditya Mattoo and Devesh Roy), 2003.
“The WTO and Poorest Countries: The Stark Reality,” World Trade Review, (with Aaditya Mattoo), 2003.
“Measuring Services Trade Liberalization and Its Impact on Economic Growth: An Illustration,” Journal of Economic Integration, (with Aaditya Mattoo and Randeep Rathindran), 2002.
“Dynamic Gains from Trade – Evidence from South Africa,” IMF Staff Papers Vol. 48 No. 1, (with Gunnar Jonsson), 2001.
“Can TRIPS Serve as An Enforcement Device in the WTO?” Journal of International Economic Law, (with J. Watal), 2000.
“Trade and the Environment: A Nearly Empty Box?” The World Economy, 1992.
“TRIPs and the Paradigm of the GATT: A Tropical, Temperate View,” World Economy, 1990.
“The International Economics of Intellectual Property Right Protection: A Welfare-Theoretic Trade Policy Analysis,” World Development, Vol. 19, No. 8.
“Regulatory Autonomy and Multilateral Disciplines: the Dilemma and a Possible Resolution,” Journal of International Economic Law, Vol. 9 No. 2, (with Aaditya Mattoo.)
India: Trade and Intellectual Property
“India as User and Creator of Intellectual Property: The Challenges Post-Doha,” in India and the WTO, edited by A. Mattoo and R. Stern, World Bank), 2003.
“India and the Multilateral Trading System Post-Doha: Defensive or Proactive?” in India and the WTO, edited by A. Mattoo and R. Stern, World Bank, (with A. Mattoo), 2003.
“The Case for a US-India Free Trade Agreement,” Economic and Political Weekly, (with A. Mattoo), 2003.
“Putting Some Numbers on the TRIPS Pharmaceutical Debate,” International Journal of Technology Management, 1994.
Book, op-eds and other
“Efficiency, Equity, and Legitimacy: The Multilateral Trading System at the Millenium,” Brookings/Harvard University Press, (edited with Roger Porter and Pierre Sauvé), 2002.
Profile of Paul Krugman: “Economist as Crusader,” Finance and Development, June 2006.
“The Bangalore Bug,” op-ed in the Financial Times, (with Raghuram Rajan), 2006.
“China’s exchange rate,” op-ed in the Financial Times, (with Raghuram Rajan), 2005.
Profile of Jagdish Bhagwati: “The Globalization Guru,” Finance and Development, September 2005.
In Greenprint, Aaditya Mattoo and Arvind Subramanian argued that only radical technological progress can reconcile climate-change goals with those of development and energy access. In this paper, they show how trade policy and trade rules can facilitate action on climate change.
Should India, a lower-middle income country that has its own space program and yet is home to more than 400 million people who live on less than $1.25 a day, graduate from IDA, the World Bank’s concessional finance window for the world’s poorest countries? Ravi Kanbur will use this hotly debated question as a way to explore broader issues: How should the World Bank engage with India? How should India engage with the World Bank? How should other emerging powers that, like India, have both rapid growth and very large numbers of poor people, engage with global development institutions more generally?
*The Understanding India Seminars Series is organized by CGD's Understanding India initiative, which explores India's development challenges and experiences and the lessons they might offer for other developing countries.*
Paraphrasing "jesting Pilate", "what is truth when academic superstars supposedly produce it?" is possibly the most important yet neglected question raised by the recent Reinhart-Rogoff (R-R) affair.
The essential facts of this episode are these: two Harvard professors, Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, used their academic research to become strong advocates in the policy realm, although not among fellow academics, of the need for fiscal austerity when economies approach a threshold level of debt-to-GDP ratio of 90 per cent. Their superstar reputations (deservedly earned through previous work) rendered their advocacy influential, even highly so, in the charged policy debates in the United States and all over Europe. The research - especially the critical and attention-grabbing finding of a sharp growth discontinuity at that 90 per cent threshold - was subsequently exposed as flawed.
The Economist features a book review of Senior Fellow Arvind Subramanian's latest book, Greenprint.
From the review:
Greenprint: A New Approach to Cooperation on Climate Change. By Aaditya Mattoo and Arvind Subramanian. Brookings Institution Press; 150 pages; $17.99. Buy from Amazon.com
MOST books about the environment take the West as their starting point. This is understandable. For decades America was the world’s biggest polluter, contributing more to the problem than any other country, whereas Europe—at least in its politicians’ minds—has model environmental laws and holds plenty of righteous talks to negotiate new solutions.
But Europe and America are becoming supporting actors in the world’s climate-change drama. The lead players are China and India. China is the world’s largest emitter, contributing nearly a quarter of current global emissions. With India it accounted for 83% of the worldwide increase in carbon emissions in 2000-11. Though global warming began with industrialised countries it must end—if it is to end—through actions in developing ones. All the more reason to welcome “Greenprint”, the first book on climate change to concentrate on this growing part of the problem. Written by Aaditya Mattoo and Arvind Subramanian, two Indian economists based in Washington, DC, the book offers an unflinching look at what one might realistically expect emerging markets to do.
The West, the authors argue, has failed to mitigate global warming, so developing countries will have to take over. This is necessary, they say, because global warming will affect developing countries more than rich ones, partly because tropical and subtropical lands are more sensitive to warming than cold or temperate ones, and partly because rich people can afford better flood controls and drought-resistant seeds than poor ones.
Read it here.
Is the world making progress on climate change? Recently, the OECD struck a hopeful note, reporting that emissions were growing more slowly than GDP in both the high-income and developing countries, including China. This decoupling of emissions and growth, if true, would be good news indeed, since it would suggest that the world can cut emissions without hurting the economic growth needed to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.
Two aspects of global imbalances -- undervalued exchange rates and sovereign wealth funds -- require a multilateral response. For reasons of inadequate leverage and eroding legitimacy, the International Monetary Fund has not been effective in dealing with undervalued exchange rates. In this working paper, CGD senior fellow Arvind Subramanian and his co-author propose new rules in the World Trade Organization to discipline cases of significant undervaluation that are clearly attributable to government action. Placing exchange rates and sovereign wealth funds on the trade negotiating agenda may help revive the Doha Round by rekindling the interest of a wide variety of groups, many of whom are currently disengaged from the round.
Decades of research have been unable to conclusively show either a positive or negative effect of aid on economic growth in poor countries. CGD senior fellow Arvind Subramanian and Raghuram G. Rajan use a new technique in their latest working paper that suggests aid slows the manufacturing sector by appreciating the exchange rate and making the production of manufacturing goods less profitable. And if aid slows the manufacturing sector, the implications for overall growth could be adverse.
A Conference Co-Hosted by the Center for Global Development (CGD), the Korean Development Institute (KDI), and the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI)
Mobilizing and allocating finance to address the global public goods dimensions of climate change—both emissions reductions and resilience—is one of the great policy challenges of our age. Within the development and climate finance policy communities, most of the attention has focused, understandably, on how to raise the hundreds of billions of dollars that will be needed. After all, if you can’t raise it you can’t spend it. However, one major obstacle in mobilizing climate finance has been a lack of consensus on how new public climate money would be best spent.
The October 9th, 2013, conference, “How to Spend It (If We Had It): Priorities for Allocating International Climate Change Finance” jointly organized by Center for Global Development, the Korean Development Institute (KDI), and the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), will showcase perspectives from technical experts and policymakers on how to make the best use of international public climate finance. This day-long conference is designed to provide potential solutions to address challenges such as evaluating criteria for country allocations, identifying priorities among sectors and approaches, establishing effective disbursement mechanisms, and exploring innovative financing techniques that can successfully leverage public funds for climate change finance.
Arvind Subramanian testified before the Senate Banking Subcommittee on National Security and International Trade and Finance at a hearing on the investment climate and improving market access in financial services in India on September 25, 2013.
Subramanian shared his observations about the Indian economy and the current climate for foreign direct investment with the panel, addressed the potential for an effective Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) between India and the United States, and offered two key recommendations. From Subramanian’s testimony:
According to The Economist, India's proposal to give every citizen a cash transfer using the digital platform Aadhar could reduce absolute poverty from 22 percent to 0.5 percent. For a country that is home to a third of the world's poor, could Universal Basic Income (UBI) fundamentally change the picture of poverty, health and well-being in India and the world?
The Indian Ministry of Finance’s 2017 Economic Survey considers—though does not commit to—the idea of a large-scale experiment in UBI, or universal basic income. How would it work? What effects would it have? Arvind Subramanian—lead author of the Survey, chief economic adviser to the government of India, and a CGD senior fellow on leave—joins me to discuss the big ideas currently shaping India’s economy.
In this paper Arvind Subramanian and co-authors investigate the differential effects of cooperatitve policy action on climate change and find that one size doesn't fit all. Policy instruments should distinguish between low- and high-carbon countries to avoid serious trade consequences.