Archive for November 14th, 2014

Volcker does not understand the monetary policy of today…

November 14, 2014

Well, not many do either barring those who seem to be making the policy.

WSJ Blog has these comments by Paul Volcker over the monetary policy at today. He does not really get it:


Why Keynes is important today?

November 14, 2014

Eco Historians Peter Temin and David Vines have this article.

There is huge animosity to fiscal stimulus today based on Ricardian equivalence. The authors show how Keynes faced a similar situation in 1930s:


How academics can engage with policymakers?

November 14, 2014

This blog has has written in the past on the need for policymakers to engage with academicians.

Professor Hugh Lauder of University of Bath has this excellent article on the same:

As academics face increased pressure to prove the impact that their research is having on the wider world, universities are considering how they can communicate more effectively with policymakers.

There are fundamental problems that confront the relationship between academics and politicians. The rules, incentives and institutional architectures that distinguish the academic field are different from those of the policy landscape.

Policymakers often have relatively tight timeframes when compared to academics: they frequently want short, clearly written synopses of research that can throw light on their policy problems.

In contrast, academics are driven by the need to secure grants and get published in high quality journals.Their research may take five years or more – the length of a parliament. Having been trained to think carefully and at length about the problems they confront, they find responding to the more immediate demands of policymakers a challenge. How can these difficulties be overcome?

Politicians could better engage with academics at the point when they start to think about manifestos; embedding academic knowledge into the policy process from the beginning. In order to develop such agendas, universities need to foster new channels of engagement with policymakers. Policymakers could have an increasing presence on our campuses to develop the questions that are key to their policy concerns.

So what should be done? Both should meet and discuss often:

The onus lies not just with policymakers visiting academic institutions. There is also the opportunity to get more academics directly in front of policymakers, be it through presenting to all-party groups, being involved in calls for evidence, and presenting to select committees. However, the processes for being invited to present are far from transparent, limiting the opportunity for fair academic representation.

Communicating with policy think tanks is also beneficial – this is something we’ve tried to do here at Bath with the appointment of our new advisory board that brings policymakers, think tanks and academics together. We hope that university policy institutes can act as a bridge, developing links between the worlds of academia and policy.

There are occasions when it takes the policy community time to take in the implications of research.

My own work, with Phillip Brown, on the future of graduate job opportunities and earnings was based on a study of the implications of the emerging global labour market for many graduate jobs. It was not an optimistic picture we were painting; British graduates now have to face competition from their counterparts across the globe who can often work at a fraction of the price of our graduates.

Younger policy wonks from across the political spectrum quickly expressed interest but it took some time before senior policymakers took note. In part, this may have been because the research challenged official estimates of the returns to graduates. It’s not, however, the role of academics to serve existing policy agendas, important as they might be. It may take time or a change of government for such research to surface in policy agendas: it is a question of dialogue and maintaining good relationships.

Well, this will be a win-win. Policymakers get access to academic understanding and acads get real world perspectives.  Academicians will then pass on the info to the students who will gain immensely in the exercise.  Research students can do thesis on policy related issues and be a part of the real world.

In India’s context. it is even more amazing that some academics do become policymakers but stop engaging with Indian academics thereafter. They are far more comfortable in engaging with academia abroad but are highly reluctant to do the same with academia in India. It is like best of both the worlds for them. Academics abroad and policymaking in India. Indian economic policy will only improve if there is a healthy relationship between policymaking and academia. Both have to look for ways to reach out to each other..

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