Archive for May 26th, 2017

Why print media remains relevant in India?

May 26, 2017

Shashi Tharoor has a piece. He says print media has died in mist countries, but growing in India.

Why so?

The robustness of India’s print-newspaper industry cannot be attributed to lack of growth in Internet access: in the last decade, the share of the population with Internet access rose from less than 10% to some 30%. So what does explain India’s thriving newspaper market?

One basic factor is India’s rising literacy rate, which has climbed to 79%, owing largely to improvement in the “cow belt” of the northern states – the Hindi-speaking heartland. In the 1960s, when Hindi speakers were overwhelmingly less literate than those who read in English, Malayalam, and Bengali, Hindi newspapers had low circulations. Today, they are on top: for the second decade in a row, Hindi newspapers experienced the fastest growth, with average circulation soaring at a compounded annual growth rate of 8.78% since 2006.

Economic development has also helped India’s newspaper industry. Many newly affluent Indians get their national and international news from television. But events close to home are best covered in the local dailies. And, indeed, newspapers remain the best way to reach this segment of Indian society.

To be sure, most leading news outlets in India have been developing their digital offerings. They have created mobile apps to download the news from their sites, and they increasingly treat their readers to short takes of digestible news briefs tailored to the small screens of hand-held devices.

But, for many serious readers, such options are no substitute for the look and feel of a printed newspaper article. Printed newspapers offer the added advantage of reliability, in a country where Internet access cannot be guaranteed all the time, owing to still-patchy electricity supplies, which cause frequent blackouts even in the capital. News junkies still need a tangible paper that can be read in the sunlight without a fully charged battery.

Given all of this, it may not be quite so surprising that advertisers in India have remained loyal to the appeal of newspaper ink over the flickering cursor. In sharp contrast with the Western experience, advertising remains the Indian newspaper industry’s main source of revenue.

Of course, this trend may not last forever. But, for now, India’s newspapers are in no danger of becoming financially unviable. While growth in digital advertising expenditure is surging, at an annual rate of nearly 30%, it still comprises just 8% of India’s total ad spending. Meanwhile, TV and print advertising revenue are also growing, at 8% and 4.5%, respectively.

Hmmm..

Meet the newest banking indicator in town: The Divergence Ratio

May 26, 2017

Ira Dugal of Bloomberg Quint introduces us to this new indicator :-):

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Don’t Be “a jibbering idiot”: Economic Principles and the Properly Trained Economist

May 26, 2017

A must read short paper by Prof Peter Boettke of George Mason Univ.  It is actually a speech given at 42nd Annual Meetings of The Association for Private Enterprise, Hawaii.

He calls to bring back history into economics (how many such calls will be made to a profession and yet be ignored):

Economics, properly understood, makes sense out the complex web of historical relations that constitute reality, namely by utilizing economic theory. Economics without price theory is not economic theory, and measurement without theory isn’t empirically meaningful. However, graduate students are being increasingly trained in sophisticated procedures of optimization and statistical testing, remaining largely ignorant of economic theory as a tool to understanding economic history. This address is a renewed call for my fellow economists to continue to instill in their teaching the beauty of economic theory, as well as the empirical importance of economic history. In short, economic teaching and training must instill an understanding of economic forces at work, and properly done, instills the principles that constitute a golden key that unlocks the deepest mysteries in the human experience. Without learning the governing dynamics of human action and the mechanisms that produce the social cooperation under the division of labor, modern civilization will be left undefended against the fallacious claims that market processes are exploitative, monopolistic, and unfair. 

It has some important lessons and comments from late Prof Buchanan as well.

Boettke says given all the noise about economics training, it is basically about 8 basic principles:

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Is profit still a bad word in Indian polity?

May 26, 2017

JRD Tata once remarked how Indian Government during the 1950s did not like the profit word. It seems not much has changed despite many years of reforms.

Praveen Chakrabarty of IDFC institute points how post announcement of GST rates, Indian government is again warning against anti-profiteering. One reacted similarly to the G0vernment comments and wanted to blog. Thanks to Praveen who does a great job:

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How Paul Romer has been sidelined in World Bank due to war over words and usage of ‘and’…

May 26, 2017

Interesting piece on politics of economic research and grammar usage  in World Bank.

The World Bank’s chief economist has been stripped of his management duties after researchers rebelled against his efforts to make them communicate more clearly, including curbs on the written use of “and.”

Paul Romer is relinquishing oversight of the Development Economics Group, the research hub of the Washington-based development lender, according to an internal staff announcement seen by Bloomberg. Kristalina Georgieva, the chief executive for the bank’s biggest fund, will take over management of the unit July 1.

Romer will remain chief economist, providing management with “timely thought leadership on trends directly affecting our client countries, including the ‘future of work,’” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in the note to staff dated May 9.

Romer said he met resistance from staff when he tried to refine the way they communicate. “I was in the position of being the bearer of bad news,” he said in an interview. “It’s possible that I was focusing too much on the precision of the communications and not enough on the feelings my messages would invoke.”

It’s unusual for the World Bank’s chief economist, a role once occupied by heavyweights such as Stanley Fischer and Lawrence Summers, not to run the Development Economics Group, known as DEC, which publishes original research, develops the bank’s forecasts and oversees its data. The move raises questions about how much freedom the bank’s economists will have to do outside-the-box research on policies to help the world’s poorest.

Hmm..


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