Guru Dakshina

Two recent books that are festschrifts for leading economics gurus are Development Windows for Prof. V M Rao, and Dimensions of Economic Theory and Policy for Prof. Anjan Mukherji. 

What is the role of human capital in the regional location of the software industry? Why did policy rate cuts in India not lead to a rapid lowering of the banks' lending rates in the context of the financial crises? How does women's education impact on patrilocal marriage and cultural norms? What is the impact of the quality of teachers on the growth process in a small economy with a universal public education system? This volume engages with various such topical issues through an innovative use of theory and quantitative tools. The essays underline the significance of economic policy having sound theoretical moorings.

With an interesting mix of topics that have gained importance in the economics discourse in recent times alongside the more classical issues, the volume is divided into three broad themes: (i) general equilibrium, macroeconomics, and dynamic modelling in economics; (ii) applications of game theory to economics and information economics; and (iii) applications of theory to policymaking. The topics covered in Part I include Markov processes, general equilibrium under uncertainty, wealth effects and macroeconomics, aspects of economic growth, and applications of dynamic modelling to forest management and international trade. Part II analyses efficiency wages, collusion in oligopolies, cartels in international competition, price competition in a mixed duopoly, strategic aspects of liability rules, and liquidity preference. Part III provides a rigorous analysis of some socio-economic problems of India.

Professor Mukerji's was one of the anchors of the Centre for Economics Studies and Planning at the JNU, leading the group on mathematical economics. He had a number of distinguished students, three of who are the editors of Dimensions of Economic Theory and Policy, published by OUP. 

 480 pages in hardcover. Rs 850,  ISBN: 9780198073970

The second book, Development Windows, has been edited by R. S. Deshpande, K. V. Raju, S. M. Jharwal, and D. Rajasekhar, and is published by Academic Press, New Delhi.

The process of understanding development has its roots in the gathered wisdom and training of the elaborator/researcher. Basically the concept has manifold dimensions. Social Scientists have broadly come to terms with the concept of development flavoured with these make-believe borders of disciplines. This is likely to grow worse, if the interdisciplinary underpinnings are not kept in view. This volume makes an attempt to address some of the concerns confronted in literature by providing a partial peep through a few windows to observe development and these are studied by acclaimed social scientists from various disciplinary backgrounds. These windows are opened with a purpose and from an angle, keeping in view the widespread academic interests and research areas frequented by Prof. V.M. Rao, through his writings. Five areas are chosen here: aggregate economic development, agricultural development, irrigation development, poverty and issues of governance. The authors in unison argue for the necessity of a holistic understanding of an economy, society and further need for development of indigeneous way of thinking. It touches upon promising themes of development both at micro as well as macro-level to legitimise the well-deserved places for the issues among the imminent problems. Each of these windows gives us glimpses of different facets of development from the vantage point of the author as also a view from diverse angles, at the world of development. Though fragmented, one gets a picture of the seemingly continuum of development. The intention of this volume is to create an excellent collage of these views through different windows.

As the recent review in The Hindu put it,  The practice of economics in India, especially over the past four decades, has been marked by theory getting eclipsed by a mass of empirical work. The full ramifications of this development warrant a deep and extensive analysis. But there is little doubt that empirical work, carried out with high level of professional competence, provides a sound basis for policy formulation. And in this business of laying such strong empirical foundation few have excelled Professor V. M. Rao.

590 pages in hardcover, Rs 1295.  ISBN: 9788171888085