Abhijit Banerjee

Abhijit Banerjee

Abhijit Banerjee is Ford Foundation Professor of Economics at MIT and co-Founder and Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab. He is naive enough to continue to believe in hope and reason.

Articles by Abhijit Banerjee
Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das, never one for understatements, declared “The numbers completely negate the kind of negative projections and speculations which were made about the impact of demonetisation.”(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das, never one for understatements, declared “The numbers completely negate the kind of negative projections and speculations which were made about the impact of demonetisation.”(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

India’s GDP numbers are likely to be an overestimation

UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2017 10:47 AM IST
Given just how large our informal sector is, the overestimation could be very significant. Still the overestimation seems to be entirely missed by our leaders who are happily beating their chests about our (mostly made up) growth numbers
Presidency College Kolkata. There are many more colleges, universities and institutes, which is why places like Presidency University (the erstwhile Presidency College) are now struggling to get and retain talent.
Presidency College Kolkata. There are many more colleges, universities and institutes, which is why places like Presidency University (the erstwhile Presidency College) are now struggling to get and retain talent.

Focus our best academic talent in a few places to promote excellence

PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2017 06:24 PM IST
Presidency University is struggling to hold on to its best people today in part because as a state government institution in a poor state, it pays at least 40% less than its competitors who benefit from the munificence of the central government.
Nand Lal, a former soldier who missed his spot in an ATM queue in Gurgaon and became the face of the demonetisation movement. The negative effects of demonetisation are much bigger than the 0.5% that is being talked about.(Parveen Kumar/HT Photo)
Nand Lal, a former soldier who missed his spot in an ATM queue in Gurgaon and became the face of the demonetisation movement. The negative effects of demonetisation are much bigger than the 0.5% that is being talked about.(Parveen Kumar/HT Photo)

Bad economics can bite

UPDATED ON DEC 22, 2016 07:52 AM IST
Even if the whole thing is a mistake in pure economic terms, demonetisation could be worth it for the PM in terms of political dividends
Leadership is about ideas and dreams, making us understand why an issue deserves our attention, scolding us when we are insufficient, inspiring us to aim higher .
Leadership is about ideas and dreams, making us understand why an issue deserves our attention, scolding us when we are insufficient, inspiring us to aim higher .

We need a leader, not just a glorified manager

UPDATED ON NOV 23, 2016 01:18 AM IST
A leader is more than just a sympathetic listener. She (or he) needs to ask questions and get people to respond candidly, listen to what they are saying, and be able to engage and sustain the resulting debate.
Members of Zombies for Trump at a campaign event for US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Michigan, October 31(AFP)
Members of Zombies for Trump at a campaign event for US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Michigan, October 31(AFP)

Even if Trump loses, the anger that brought him to the fore will remain

UPDATED ON NOV 03, 2016 10:42 PM IST
How did the United States, a country with more than 200 years of experience with democracy, get to a situation where it is so close to electing someone who seems to be an old-fashioned fascist? To answer this, it’ll be useful to see the world from the point of view of the average American worker
Soldiers patrol near the Line of Control in Pallanwal sector, about 75 kilometers from Jammu, October 4(AP)
Soldiers patrol near the Line of Control in Pallanwal sector, about 75 kilometers from Jammu, October 4(AP)

India needs help of Kashmiris to offset Pakistan’s dirty cross-border games

UPDATED ON OCT 11, 2016 08:19 PM IST
The strikes themselves Pakistan might have swallowed as a move in our age-old game of tit for tat. The propaganda, the public display of our delight at their expense, force their hand — it’s the smartphone moment. And we may very well come to regret it
HT Image
HT Image
We all want to be Tendulkar and have our politely smiling faces plastered across the country and don’t really give ourselves a shot at being good at anything else.(Sunil Ghosh/HT)
We all want to be Tendulkar and have our politely smiling faces plastered across the country and don’t really give ourselves a shot at being good at anything else.(Sunil Ghosh/HT)

Little to cheer: One Olympic medal for every 60 crore Indians

UPDATED ON SEP 01, 2016 01:18 AM IST
Our obsession with cricket, along with malnutrition, poor sanitary conditions and lack of public playgrounds, reflect in our Olympic medals’ haul
British Prime Minister David Cameron speaks to the press in front of 10 Downing Street, London, June 24, 2016(AFP)
British Prime Minister David Cameron speaks to the press in front of 10 Downing Street, London, June 24, 2016(AFP)

Brexit: If democracy has to survive, the elites have to regain their credibility

UPDATED ON JUN 24, 2016 10:15 PM IST
The mainstream parties have always insisted that immigrants and imports from cheaper competitors is nothing to worry about, but to the man in the street this has never made intuitive sense. When the economists were delivering results, voters were willing to suspend disbelief, but now they have no reason. Hence Brexit
Had Bangladesh only managed to contain their excitement for another three balls, they would have won their match against India on March 23. And next time or the time after that, they will(REUTERS)
Had Bangladesh only managed to contain their excitement for another three balls, they would have won their match against India on March 23. And next time or the time after that, they will(REUTERS)

We need to make our sports talent truly world class

UPDATED ON APR 17, 2016 02:48 PM IST
Why not forget about national boundaries, just for cricket? To make this possible, administrators will need to work with their counterparts from other countries
JNU students protest against the arrest of students at the JNU campus on Tuesday.(Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)
JNU students protest against the arrest of students at the JNU campus on Tuesday.(Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)

We need thinking spaces like JNU and the govt must stay out of it

PUBLISHED ON FEB 16, 2016 11:30 PM IST
Universities and civil society are important for a democracy like ours, founded on a genuine idealism that we have a hard time holding on to
A combination of incentives and subsidies to speed up the transition to engines using ultra low sulphur fuels is worth thinking about.(HT Photo)
A combination of incentives and subsidies to speed up the transition to engines using ultra low sulphur fuels is worth thinking about.(HT Photo)

Not just odd-even plan, a combination of incentives, subsidies needed

UPDATED ON DEC 29, 2015 05:58 PM IST
In terms of alternatives to the odd-even rule, it is clear that one important downside of the proposed scheme is that it does not discriminate between those who just drive round the corner and those who drive hundreds of kilometres a day
While there are people who take to violence only because they feel a threat to their religion, for many of those involved the possibility of violence is exciting and a big part of the attraction, just as it is for the drug dealers and the political hoodlums, writes Abhijit Banerjee.(Reuters Photo)
While there are people who take to violence only because they feel a threat to their religion, for many of those involved the possibility of violence is exciting and a big part of the attraction, just as it is for the drug dealers and the political hoodlums, writes Abhijit Banerjee.(Reuters Photo)

Intimidation, imitation, economics: Why youth are taking to terror

UPDATED ON NOV 25, 2015 12:50 AM IST
A potent combination of intimidation, imitation and economic stagnation are the reasons for the youth taking to terror.
Offering a voice to someone from the other side, even if it is someone you potentially disagree with, has become tantamount to sponsoring his views. Sudheendra Kulkarni, a long-term BJP supporter, is now a ‘Pakistani agent’.(AFP Photo)
Offering a voice to someone from the other side, even if it is someone you potentially disagree with, has become tantamount to sponsoring his views. Sudheendra Kulkarni, a long-term BJP supporter, is now a ‘Pakistani agent’.(AFP Photo)

Peace-loving people need to break silence on growing intolerance

Hindustan Times | By Abhijit Banerjee
UPDATED ON OCT 17, 2015 11:47 AM IST
If the majority of peace-loving people in India choose to stay silent on Dadri-like incidents, soon we will become another Pakistan.

Police reform a must to stop State from misusing power

Hindustan Times | By Abhijit Banerjee
UPDATED ON SEP 22, 2015 11:37 PM IST
Every time we see State power being used with impunity, every occasion when a policeman walks into a teashop and leaves without paying, diminishes the State and breeds cynicism, writes Abhijit Banerjee.

Colleges, univs should be exciting places to teach, be taught

None | By Abhijit Banerjee
UPDATED ON JUL 23, 2015 07:59 AM IST
We need to be able to think of ways to make our institutions of higher learning exciting places to teach and be taught.
The-NDA-has-made-pension-and-insurance-schemes-the-centrepiece-of-its-anti-poverty-efforts-The-belief-is-that-people-can-find-ways-to-sustain-themselves-as-long-as-they-are-able-bodied-and-of-working-age-but-the-State-needs-to-help-them-deal-with-old-age-disability-and-death-Reuters
The-NDA-has-made-pension-and-insurance-schemes-the-centrepiece-of-its-anti-poverty-efforts-The-belief-is-that-people-can-find-ways-to-sustain-themselves-as-long-as-they-are-able-bodied-and-of-working-age-but-the-State-needs-to-help-them-deal-with-old-age-disability-and-death-Reuters

Selling insurance to poor in India demands imaginative solutions

UPDATED ON JUN 04, 2015 01:49 AM IST
It is difficult to sell insurance to the poor in India. The challenges are not insurmountable but demand imaginative solutions

Sanitation drive: Bring it all in from the open

Hindustan Times | By Abhijit Banerjee
UPDATED ON APR 28, 2015 02:07 AM IST
If you are a natural scientist, a publication the journal Science carries enormous prestige. In the last few years Science has started to publish a small number of articles in the social sciences on topics of special importance.

Land acquisition: First, sow the seeds of security among farmers

UPDATED ON MAR 26, 2015 11:01 PM IST
Many years ago, Jagdish Bhagwati, a very distinguished economist long before he became one of the patron saints of the NDA, published an important paper on what he called Directly Unproductive Activities or DUP.
AAP-or-BJP-Voters-in-Delhi-will-make-their-choice-on-February-7-Arun-Sharma-HT-Photo
AAP-or-BJP-Voters-in-Delhi-will-make-their-choice-on-February-7-Arun-Sharma-HT-Photo

Delhi polls: When it comes to funding, keep it white and keep it right

UPDATED ON FEB 04, 2015 02:18 AM IST
At stake in the Delhi elections is the idea that it is possible to be competitive without using under-the-table finance.
HT Image
HT Image

Food for thought: Parties should reward their foot soldiers amply

UPDATED ON JAN 02, 2015 11:17 AM IST
We need parties that pay their boys decent salaries for being the professionals they could be rather than the proto-criminals they end up becoming because of the system, writes Abhijit Banerjee.
HT Image
HT Image

What's the plan for MNREGA? Modi has to explain

UPDATED ON NOV 27, 2014 09:26 AM IST
We deserve to be told why the MGNREGA has been singled out for the axe, if for no other reason than to inform our views about future programmes, writes Abhijit Banerjee.
HT Image
HT Image

No job is 'low' - be it desk or labour

UPDATED ON OCT 27, 2014 11:02 PM IST
Our prejudice against physical labour can only undermine Narendra Modi’s drive to turn India into a manufacturing hub, writes Abhijit Banerjee.
HT Image
HT Image

India's self-righteous policies aren't helping the poor

UPDATED ON OCT 02, 2014 02:07 PM IST
Any attempt to do anything 'for the poor' tends to be cloaked in such self-righteousness that hardly anyone dares to ask the necessary questions about it: does the programme itself make sense, is there anything else that we could do that would be better? writes Abhijit Banerjee.

The new plan body must have a certain oomph

UPDATED ON AUG 19, 2014 11:09 PM IST
Narendra Modi says that he will replace the Planning Commission with a think tank. But it will take some doing to attract high-quality people to work for it, writes Abhijit Banerjee.

The centre may not hold: how public rage may hurt India

None | By Abhijit Banerjee
UPDATED ON JUL 02, 2014 09:05 AM IST
The Muzaffarnagar riots and the mauling in elections were bad enough, but things really spun out of control with the rash of rapes and gang rapes that don't show any sign of letting up, writes Abhijit Banerjee.

Narendra Modi has to be most decisive at first

Hindustan Times | By Abhijit Banerjee
UPDATED ON MAY 26, 2014 11:05 PM IST
The BJP must nurture the institutions that put credible checks and balances in place. Otherwise, the street will fight back. Abhijit Banerjee writes.
An-air-balloon-in-the-shape-of-lotus-during-BJP-PM-candidate-Narendra-Modi-s-election-rally-in-Kanpur-PTI-photo
An-air-balloon-in-the-shape-of-lotus-during-BJP-PM-candidate-Narendra-Modi-s-election-rally-in-Kanpur-PTI-photo

Why BJP's plan of full reforms is easier said than done

UPDATED ON APR 23, 2014 11:31 AM IST
One advantage of not being in power is that we can dream of reshaping the world exactly as we please. The BJP has had this luxury for some time — now the reality is about to hit it, writes Abhijit Banerjee.
HT Image
HT Image

UPA is not able to take credit for what it has done

UPDATED ON MAR 26, 2014 01:57 AM IST
The tragedy of the UPA is not that it didn’t do anything, but that it is not able to take credit for what it has done. By protecting the guilty, it surrendered the governance agenda to AAP.
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