Archive for December 17th, 2018

Measuring financial capability of the street vendors

December 17, 2018

Amidst all the chaos, team RBI continues to function. Just pointed to an interesting short paper on state-wise impact of demonetisation on deposits and cash usage.

Came across this interesting paper released last weekend by D.V. Ramana and Silu Muduli of RBI:

Financial capability of an individual is the ability to use and manage financial products for current and future financial needs with adequate financial knowledge. This paper examines financial capability on four dimensions- financial management to meet current needs, future financial planning, financial products management, and financial knowledge using a sample of street vendors in Bhubaneswar, India.

A financial capability index for each individual in the sample has been calculated in a manner that satisfies monotonicity, anonymity, normalisation, uniformity, shortfall sensitivity and hiatus sensitivity to level axioms. We find that education, age, business experience, and daily turnover significantly affect the financial capability of an individual. Moreover, street vendors in regions with higher number of bank branches are found to have significantly higher financial capability.

These results are fairly intuitive as well..

History of British Dak Bungalows (and RIP Tulsi Ramsey)

December 17, 2018

Quite a coincidence.

As I was reading this history of Dak Bungalows by Aditi Shah of Live History India, came across this news of passing away of movie director Tulsi Ramsey. Both Tulsi and Shyam (Ramsey) made horror movies with Dak Bungalows as one of the cornerstones (along with Havelis, Darwazas etc) in their movies. There is even a movie by the name Dak Bangla (Bungalow) by the Ramseys. And not just Ramseys. other directors used it too. The mention of the two words was meant to tell the audience something is going to happen in the movie..

GOing back to Aditi’s piece, she writes on how these Dak Banglas became such a critical part of British infrastructure and our psyche. They were built to help deliver post (or dak in urdu) in stages. Gradually, they came to be occupied by British officers to travel and stay in remote parts of India..

Superb stuff from LHI ahain…


100th anniversary of Mysore Sandal Soap..

December 17, 2018

Live History India has another fascinating piece which has a bit of everything.

It is a classic case of creating opportunities during crisis. During WW-I ,Mysore’s sandalwood exports dried. This prompted the Maharaja to make sandalwood oil indigenously within Mysore. A foreigner gifting Sandalwood soap in 1918 to the Maharaja gave the idea for making the soap.

Keep them coming LHI..


Using RCTs to Estimate Long-Run Impacts in Development Economics

December 17, 2018

Review paper on RCTs by Adrien Bouguen, Yue Huang, Michael Kremer, and Edward Miguel:

We assess evidence from randomized control trials (RCTs) on long-run economic productivity and living standards in poor countries. We first document that several studies estimate large positive long-run impacts, but that relatively few existing RCTs have been evaluated over the long-run. We next present evidence from a systematic survey of existing RCTs, with a focus on cash transfer and child health programs, and show that a meaningful subset can realistically be evaluated for long-run effects.

We discuss ways to bridge the gap between the burgeoning number of development RCTs and the limited number that have been followed up to date, including through new panel (longitudinal) data, improved participant tracking methods, alternative research designs, and access to administrative, remote sensing, and cell phone data.

We conclude that the rise of development economics RCTs since roughly 2000 provides a novel opportunity to generate high-quality evidence on the long-run drivers of living standards.


RBI Governors And The IAS: A Long History

December 17, 2018

My debut piece with Bloomberg Quint. I look at this long history of IAS officers at helm of RBI. Of the 25 Governors in RBI’s history, 12 have been IAS officers including the recent appointee.

Some more trivia not there in the article:

  • IAS have occupied 60% of total days of RBI Governorship since 1935.
  • The average tenure of IAS officer is 4.5 years almost double that of other professions which stands at 2.6 years.
  • Within other professions, number of economists who have been Governors is 7. Their average tenure is 3.3 years. If we exclude Mr BN Adarkar who was the first economist at the helm but had a tenure of just 42 days, the average tenure improves to 3.9 years.
  • Post-1990 we have had 8 Governors, split equally between 4 economists and 4 IAS. The average tenure of IAS and Economist is also split at 4 years.



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