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Growth, trade, development, institutions, aid, oil, India, Africa, the WTO, intellectual property
Arvind Subramanian is a distinguished non-resident fellow at the Center for Global Development. He was 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.
The G-20 pledged in London late last month that they would make an additional $1 trillion available through the International Monetary Fund and other institutions to help developing countries cope with the global economic crisis. If this and other commitments materialize quickly, that’s good news indeed. But moving fast and sensibly won't be easy.
"The problem with the international community response is not the direction but the speed," CGD visiting fellow Nora Lustig writes in a blog post. She argues that the additional resources and the new more flexible approach to its stand-by and other lending facilities announced by the IMF are crucial for helping low-and middle-income countries cope with the financial crisis.
"Increased resources and the right instruments to deliver them can prevent lots of pain for millions of poor people," she writes. "The mere existence of these options will give many developing country governments more leeway to make counter-cyclical policy responses and reduce the impact of the crisis on economic growth."
Unfortunately, the record on international coordination for timely responses to crises is spotty at best. In a new CGD working paper, Coping with Rising Food Prices: Policy Dilemmas in the Developing World, Lustig offers an example of the tough trade-offs that developing countries face when international support is lacking in a time of crisis--in this case, the 2008 surge in global food prices during the boom that preceded the financial crash.
Alarmed that rising global food prices would drive up inflation, worsen poverty, and spark social unrest, many food-exporting developing countries imposed export tariffs or otherwise restricted food exports. These and other "beggar-thy-neighbor policies" hurt food-importing countries and undermined a rules-based trading system, Lustig writes.
Lustig argues, in effect, that the food-exporting developing countries were not so much careless as they were rationally responding to the serious domestic problems facing them, given the possibility that the spike in prices was temporary and in the absence of effective international measures to reduce volatility in food prices.
Current international agreements—and even the World Trade Organization's troubled Doha Round agreement—do not actually prevent some of the worst beggar-thy-neighbor behavior. CGD senior fellow Kim Elliott notes that most of the protectionist measures put in place since the start of the crisis are WTO-compliant. (For example, tariff ceilings are much higher than actual tariffs, so countries can raise tariffs without violating WTO rules.)
Perhaps more fundamentally, as Aaditya Mattoo and Arvind Subramanian argued in a controversial CGD working paper, Multilateralism Beyond Doha, the Doha process has focused on issues of limited significance while the burning issues of the day—including the recent financial crisis—are not on the negotiating agenda. Mattoo and Subramanian have further developed these ideas in a renewed call for a "Crisis Round" of trade talks.
Something clearly needs to be done. "In a globally integrated economy such as ours, quick and sensible support to developing countries to help them cope with the crisis is not only good for them; it’s in everybody's interest," says CGD president Nancy Birdsall. "As always, the devil is in the details."
This is a joint posting with Rebecca Schutte
Is purchasing food aid locally the answer to higher global food prices and the inefficiencies associated with imported food aid? The World Food Program (WFP), the Bill and Melinda Gates and Howard G. Buffett Foundations seem to think so. While donors and international organizations have been purchasing food aid in recipient countries for years, the idea got a new boost in late September with the "Purchase for Progress (P4P)" initiative. The idea is simple: Rather than import food aid from the U.S. or Europe, WFP will purchase food commodities for distribution within the same country or region. As Josette Sheeran, WFP executive director, explained, "Purchase for Progress is a win-win -- we help our beneficiaries who have little or no food and we help local farmers who have little or no access to markets where they can sell their crops." The program will be piloted in twenty-one countries in 2008/2009, fourteen of which are in sub-Saharan Africa.
The World Trade Organization’s collapsed Doha Round focused on issues of limited significance while the burning issues of the day were not even on the agenda. In this new working paper, CGD senior fellow Arvind Subramanian and co-author Aaditya Mattoo argue for a wider agenda for multilateral cooperation that includes such issues as food, energy, economic security, and the prevention and resolution of future financial crises.