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Corruption in India: When Preaching Piety is not Enough

Lecture | March 7 | 5:30-7:30 p.m. | B-100 Blum Hall

Pranab Bardhan, Professor of Graduate School, Department of Economics

Institute for South Asia Studies, Blum Center for Developing Economies, Department of Political Science, Center for Effective Global Action, Department of South & Southeast Asian Studies, Department of Economics

Everyone is exercised about the pervasive corruption in India, but different people take different approaches to understanding and tackling it. There is the 'moralist' approach: unless and until the moral values of people change, very little can be done. There is the 'fatalist' approach: things are so rotten, nothing can be done at this stage. The economist usually takes an intermediate approach: how to tweak the system of incentives and punishments to reduce corruption. The lecture will start with some conceptual and definitional issues, and then go on to discuss the feasibility and desirability of the various policies suggested (including those by the recent vigorous anti-corruption movement in India).

About the Speaker
Pranab Bardhan has been a Professor at Berkeley since 1977, and currently is Professor of Graduate School at the Department of Economics. Educated in Presidency College, Kolkata and Cambridge University, England, he had been on the faculty of MIT, Delhi School of Economics, and Indian Statistical Institute, before joining Berkeley. He has been Visiting Professor/ Fellow at London School of Economics, Trinity College, Cambridge, St Catherine's College, Oxford, and University of Siena, Italy.

He has done theoretical and field studies research on rural institutions in poor countries, on political economy of development policies, and on international trade and globalization. A part of his work is in the interdisciplinary area of economics, political science, and social anthropology.

Bardhan has been on the editorial board of a number of economics journals, including The American Economic Review (1978–81), the Journal of Economic Perspectives (1989–94), the International Economic Review (Associate Editor, 1971–1985), and the Journal of Development Economics (Chief Editor, 1985 to 2003).

He won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1981 and the Mohalanobis Gold Medal of the Indian Econometric Society in 1980.

He is the author of 12 books, more than 120 journal articles, and the editor of 12 other books. Professor Bardhan's most recent publications include Awakening Giants, Feet of Clay: Assessing the Economic Rise of China and India; International Trade, Growth and Development; Poverty, Agrarian Structure, and Political Economy in India; Scarcity, Conflicts and Cooperation; Essays in Political and Institutional Economics of Development; Globalization and Egalitarian Redistribution, Inequality, Cooperation, and Environmental Sustainability; and (co-edited), Decentralization and Local Governance in Developing Countries: A Comparative Perspective. He has occasionally written columns in The Financial Times, Scientific American, Business Standard, YaleGlobal Online, Anandabazar Patrika (Kolkata), Boston Review, Economic and Political Weekly, Hindustan Times, India Today, Outlook, and Project Syndicate. Outside the US, he has given public lectures or keynote addresses at Bangalore, Barcelona, Beijing, Bhuvaneshwar, Bogota, Calcutta, Cape Town, Canberra, Copenhagen, Delhi, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Hong Kong, Islamabad, Istanbul, Lima, London, Manchester, Melbourne, Mumbai, Nairobi, Oslo, Oxford, Paris, Patna, Prague, Rome, Shanghai, Siena, Sydney, Trondheim, Turin, Vancouver, and Warwick.

Bardhan was also co-chair of the MacArthur Foundation-funded Network on the Effects of Inequality on Economic Performance.

Read more about him HERE. For a long interview on his China-India book as well as looking back at his professional life, you may watch this YouTube Video.

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