Archive for September 11th, 2009

Financial sector start-ups etc at Nariman point?

September 11, 2009

Warning: This is just an anecdotal post and could just be my experience. Others may not relate to this post at all.

In my short finance sector career, I have met various  people in various kinds of financial sector firms. Mostly the case is that firms are small, growing, start-ups etc. Atleast that is what I am told.

However, on looking at the office complexes one just thinks- if this is a start-up/small/growing firm what would it look like when big. Most of the time the office is at Nariman Point or some other swanky place with really fancy and costly designs (with fountains, flowing water, elevators going in a small pool of water etc etc). In one case, the person was saying how small his firm is and looking at growth…..his office window was staring at Arabian Sea (in nut shell -very very costly office space)…

I have seen quite a few start-ups elsewhere and the reality is quite stark. And if these are small firms (so called), one is in complete awe to see bigger finance sector firms office spaces.

In one of the lectures on financial institutions I had attended, we were told that earlier banks were designed as fortresses just to give confidence to the  public that there money is safe. However, looking at the current designs one could easily confuse it with some 7 star plush hotel.  What is the reason for this kind of splurge? Why not pass the savings instead to shareholders, investors etc. One can still understand it for big large firms with a proven record but small firms? One is never sure looking at these offices- who are they to serve? management or the public? Financial sector excesses catching up big-time in India for sure.

I dont’ know it is just my little experience. May be others have a very different experience .


Nobel Prize for Economics 2009 Predictions

September 11, 2009

Update: It has been awarded to Oliver Williamson and Elinior Ostrom for their work on institutions and governance. I was just seeing all the predictions and links on this post. Tyler Cowen got one half right (Williamson, Tirole would have to wait longer). Few others have also predicted Williamson.

< p>As I enjoy my vacation, I see a few searches in my blog looking for predictions for Nobel Prize for Economics for 2009 (Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel is a more correct award name). This year’s award is to be announced on 12 Oct 2009 . I havent come across any website/link predicting some picks. Usually Thomson Reuters comes out with a list towards the end of the September. It has come out with a list see below.

This year’s award is going to be interesting as world  economy goes through sharpest recession/crisis since Great Depression. The crisis  has seen nearly every modern eco theory/idea coming under severe scanner.  So, any pick will be a challenge for the Commmitee.The last time such a challenge was faced is for 1998. In 1997the nobel prize was given to Scholes and Merton for Option Pricing Theory. The duo were partners st LTCM which collapsed in 1998 leading to much criticism for the award. It was then given in 1998 to Amartya Sen whose candidature was seen as non-controversial and was long-pending.

This time the challenge is much more given the severity of the crisis. Would it be someone from Institutional Economics to stress on their importance? Or someone from  Environmental Economics to push research/thinking in this very important concern? I really don’t know.

Visitors/Readers please comment.


  • Tyler Cowen has his list. I am happy that my suggestion is same as Tyler. He says Williamson/Tirole (for institutional economics and industrial organisation) and William Nordhaus (for environmental economics).
  • Mankiw points to a Nobel Prize Pool.

Thomson Reuters has come out with its prediction list for 2009. I received an email from Kathryn McDermott informing me of the same. It has named 7 economists in 3 fields – Behavioral economics, Environment Economics and Monetary Economics. 

Behavioral Economics – (For their contributions to behavioral economics, including issues of preferences, fairness, and cooperation.)

Environment Economics – For their contributions to environmental economics, particularly with respect to climate change.


    Sterling Professor of Economics, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA • Winner of the 2005 Distinguished Fellow Award of the American Economic Association • Ranked 108th in output and 49th in citations, according to Coupe rankings.


    Professor of Economics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA • Guggenheim Fellow 1970-1971 and in 1986 was elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. • Ranked 35th in output and 56th in citations, according to Coupe rankings.

Monetary Economics – For their research on monetary policy


    Mary and Robert Raymond Professor of Economics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA, and Bowen H. and Mary Arthur McCoy Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford, CA, USA • Recipient of the 2005 Alexander Hamilton Award, U.S. Treasury Department and the 2005 George P. Schultz Public Service Award, Stanford University.

    RePEc ranking 54th as of August 2009


    Professor, Department of Economics, and Director of the Center for Research in International Economics, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain • Winner of 2008 Premi Societat Catalana d¹Economia and recipient in 2008 of the First Prize Award for Best Paper presented at the NBER’S International Seminar on Macroeconomics during its first 25 years


    Henry and Lucy Moses Professor of Economics, New York University, New York, NY, USA • 2007-2008 Guggenheim Fellow and 2008 First Prize Award for Best Paper presented at the NBER’S International Seminar on Macroeconomics during its first 25 years

Here are my comments for each of the fields.

  • Behavioral Economics- I have read a bit of all the above except Ernst Fehr. The Prize was given in 2002 for behavioral economics and I think giving another one in 2009 will be too early. And not having Thaler in the list for behavioral economics would be like awarding another award for International Trade without having Bhagwati on the list or an award for environemntal economics without having Nordhaus on the list. Moreover Rabin is just about 46 now and as per Nobel Prize winners’ age is too young for the award. But yes whenever behavioral economics is awarded next, Rabin would be a strong contender.
  • Environmental Economics- I have read very little about these two guys and environment economics in general. I have to read a lot more on this to comment anything. But yes see some recognition of the importance of the field soon. Till the committee does not award the field, it will always be in the prediction list.
  • Monetary Economics- I have read quite a bit of John Taylor and if monetary economics is recognised, he would most likely get the award. His work on getting rules into monetary policy framework is quite a revolution. There are strong critiques of John taylor but this is the case with much of economics. Gertler has written quite a few papers with Bernanke and is a leading proponent with Jordi Gali (see this) on New Keynesian Theory and DSGE Models. Given the current criticism on these models, I don’t think they will be awarded this time.  

So let’s wait for 12 October….

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