A Journey in Economic Development: Theory, Policy, Activism




Free and open to the public.



Ashok Kotwal, Economics
Coach House, Green College, UBC
Thursday, October 11, 5-6:30 pm, with reception to follow
in the series
Senior Scholars' Series: The Passions That Drive Academic Life

Ashok Kotwal grew up in India, and worked first as an electrical engineer in that country and then in the computer industry in Massachusetts. The gap in standards of living made it natural to ask why countries like India stayed so poor while others prospered. Economics provided an answer: stylized facts could be explained by a hypothesis based on basic assumptions about behaviour. That was the appeal of ‘theory.’ Over the years, however, the field of Economics would become more empirical, techniques of analysis more sophisticated, and Ashok’s own interests more policy-oriented. He also discovered that there was much to learn about grass-roots realities from social activists. For the last six years, he has been editing an online newsletter called Ideas for India. Its mission is to enhance the quality of public debate in India by making the findings of academic research accessible to the lay public.