tisdag 27 april 2010

Indiens ekonomiska politik: pro-poor growth?

Det här är ju faktiskt fantastiskt intressant.
"In his book 'Prelude to Political Economy', published in 2000, Kaushik Basu of Cornell University wrestled with this paradox. 'If, seeing high unemployment in an economy, a person… advises entrepreneurs to employ more labourers, or consumers to demand more goods, this typically causes economists to share a laugh.' And yet economists routinely advise governments to act in the economy’s interests rather than their own.

Mr Basu is now living the conundrum he theorised about. In December he became the chief economic adviser to India’s finance ministry, occupying an office amid the sandstone domes and colonnades of Sir Herbert Baker’s Secretariat buildings in Delhi. On February 25th he released the ministry’s annual economic survey, a day before the minister, Pranab Mukherjee, presented the budget. What advice did Mr Basu give? And did his boss upstairs pay him any heed?

The survey welcomes India’s remarkable escape from both the financial crisis and a disappointing monsoon. The economy is expected to grow by 7.2% in the fiscal year ending on March 31st and it should return to growth of about 9% in the medium term, the survey argues. This government, however, will not settle for any old growth. It has committed itself to “inclusive growth”. The phrase is often invoked, but rarely defined precisely. In the survey Mr Basu offers a 'statistical summing up' of what inclusive growth might actually entail.

He proposes that the nation should measure its progress by the growth in per-capita income of the bottom quintile, or 20%, of the population. This simple yardstick gives due weight to both the poor and to growth. Mr Basu cites some figures crunched by S. Subramanian of the Madras Institute of Development Studies (see left-hand chart). They show India’s poor making what Mr Subramanian describes as 'a modestly plodding climb out of considerable income deprivation'.

For growth to be inclusive, Mr Basu suggests, it is not enough that the income of the bottom 20% rise at the same percentage rate as the average. Instead, they should get an equal absolute share of the income the economy adds. If the economy grows by $100 billion in a year, the poorest fifth should get $20 billion. That is a high bar indeed."
Economist, "On deaf ears", 4 mars

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