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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bangalore safety is not the job of banks

A PTI story about the attack on a woman at an ATM in Bangalore says:
... Karnataka government today bluntly told banks to close down such kiosks unless they provide security. As the shocking episode continued to grab media attention in Bangalore and across India, with the CCTV footage of the gory act being beamed into homes and offices on TV and the net, Home Minister K J George held a high-level meeting to discuss measures to curb such incidents.

George said more than 600 of the total 2,580 ATMs in the city have no security guards.
"We want them to deploy security guards immediately or close down the things until suitable arrangements have been made... that's why the Police Commissioner (Raghavendra Auradkar) will take appropriate action," he told reporters.
This is an appalling cop-out.

It is convenient and comfortable for the police to not take responsibility for safety. It is convenient and comfortable for the police to impose restrictions on citizens to make their job convenient. But we should not organise society in a way that's convenient for the police. The job of the police is difficult, and we should hold them accountable for delivering on it.

Look at any civilised country. Do banks put a guard on every ATM? Or does the government produce an umbrella of safety over society as a whole? The criminal justice system produces a public good called safety. Safety is non-rival and non-excludable. It is a public good. Mr. George and Mr. Auradkar are wrong when they want to transfer this responsibility down to citizens, asking them to produce safety as a private good.

In economic policy, when a central banker says the central bank cannot control inflation, I say that the person should resign. If you can't deliver low and stable inflation, please leave the central bank, and let someone else try to do your job better. In similar fashion, when a policeman says that the police cannot deliver safety, I would suggest that the policeman should resign. If you can't deliver safety, don't be in the police.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

India macro policy review

On 19 November, we have a day-long meeting, India Macro Policy Review at NIPFP. All are welcome.

Seminar on Collateral and monetary policy

Manmohan Singh of the IMF will do a talk at NIPFP on 18 November titled Collateral and monetary policy. We start at 4 PM. It will be followed by coffee and snacks. All are welcome.

The spirit of the NPS

In continuation of my blog post Implications of the Pensions Act (4 September), and the collection of links NPS: The day after (16 September), I have an article in the Economic Times today titled The spirit of the NPS. This is about rebooting the NPS with a focus on its founding principles.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Interesting readings

A most interesting speech by P. Chidambaram: text, and a web page with an audio recording of the speech and the discussion.

The price of a tiger, an editorial in the Business Standard.

Adil Rustomjee on Firstpost on the elaborate racket that is Indian banking.

Clarifying RBI's role and purpose by Ila Patnaik in the Indian Express.

Remove restrictions on foreign investment in rupee denominated debt by Ila Patnaik in the Financial Express.

RBI gears up to try to do interest rate futures again by Ila Patnaik in the Financial Express.

Forcing managers of firms to gift away 2% of the money belonging to their shareholders is a bad idea. It is depressing, how comfortable the Indian State is in using its coercive powers to interfere in the right to property and right to contract of private citizens. In the Business Standard today, Shekhar Shah wonders how we can salvage some sense out of this.

Ullekh NP in the Economic Times tells a story of an extremely important new project: the Delhi-Bombay Industrial Corridor.

Response to SEBI's Discussion Paper: Review of policy for trade cancellation/annulment by Nidhi Aggarwal and Chirag Anand of IGIDR FRG.

Impact of restrictions on currency derivatives on market quality by Rajat Tayal of IGIDR FRG.

New research by Biggerstaff, Cicero, Puckett on unethical CEOs.

People who are steeped in Europe of the 20th Century know that social and political catastrophes are always possible. Accominotti and Eichengreen look back at the end of the First Globalisation, and find that the sudden stop that hit Austria, Germany and Hungary (1925-1932) was similar to what hit Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Ireland (2006-2012).

Jon Krakauer in the New Yorker resolves a mystery involving the outdoors, rooted in plant biology and linking back to World War II.

A video with a discussion with Frank Dikotter on the early days of the Chinese revolution, which helps us better understand the notion of `land reform'.

A great story by Colin Dickey in the most excellent Lapham's Quarterly, about the early explorations of the seas and of the Arctic Circle, and the conquest of scurvy.

Why Microsoft Word must Die: a nice explanation of why people who know about computers have a problem with Microsoft Word, by Charlie Stross.

The Nazi Anatomists by Emily Bazelon on Slate.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Macroeconomic and financial policy challenges of China and India: A special issue of the Journal of International Money and Finance

Joshua Aizenman, Kees Koedijk and I co-edited a special issue of the Journal of International Money and Finance, December 2013, which has:

  1. Overview: Macroeconomic and financial policy challenges of China and India; Joshua Aizenman, Ajay Shah.
  2. Is China or India more financially open; Guonan Ma, Robert N. McCauley.
  3. Why do emerging markets liberalize capital outflow controls? Fiscal versus net capital flow concerns; Joshua Aizenman, Gurnain Kaur Pasricha. Summary.
  4. The investment technology of foreign and domestic institutional investors in an emerging market; Ila Patnaik, Ajay Shah. Materials.
  5. How do foreign investors impact domestic economic activity? Evidence from India and China; Chotibhak Jotikasthira, Christian Lundblad, Tarun Ramadorai.
  6. The financing and growth of firms in China and India: Evidence from capital markets; Tatiana Didier, Sergio L. Schmukler. Summary.
  7. The financial crisis and Indian banks: Survival of the fittest? Barry Eichengreen, Poonam Gupta.
  8. Macro-prudential policies to mitigate financial system vulnerabilities; Stijn Claessens, Swati R. Ghosh, Roxana Mihet.
  9. China's financial linkages with Asia and the global financial crisis; Reuven Glick, Michael Hutchison.
  10. The growth of a shadow banking system in emerging markets: Evidence from India; Viral V. Acharya, Hemal Khandwala, T. Sabri Oncu.
  11. Impact of exchange rate movements on exports: An analysis of Indian non-financial sector firms; Yin-Wong Cheung, Rajeswari Sengupta. Summary.