London School of Economics EOPP: Economic Organisation and Public Policy Programme LSE
EOPP: Economic Organisation and Public Policy Programme

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News Archive 2009

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Recent Publications
Tim Besley: State Capacity, Conflict and Development

A paper by Tim Besley entitled "State Capacity, Conflict and Development"(joint with Torsten Persson) will be published in Econometrica.

In this paper, the authors point out that the absence of state capacities to raise revenue and to support markets is a key factor in explaining the persistence of weak states. They report on an on-going project to investigate the incentive to invest in such capacities. The paper sets out a simple analytical structure in which state capacities are modelled as forward looking investments by government. The approach highlights some determinants of state building including the risk of external or internal conflict, the degree of political instability, and dependence on natural resources. Throughout, the authors link these state capacity investments to patterns of development and growth.

News Posted: 30 November 2009      [Back to the Top]

Recent Publications: The Financial Express
Buying Land and Selling Kidneys

In two articles for the Financial Express Maitreesh Ghatak, looks at the legal and ethical limits of economic transactions by analysing the trade in human organs and finding parallels in coercive land acquisition.

Read the articles:
Buying land and selling kidneys, published Nov 09, 2009
Why would you sell your heart?, published Nov 16, 2009

News Posted: 16 November 2009      [Back to the Top]

Recent Publications: Policy Papers
Maitreesh Ghatak

Maitreesh Ghatak, joint with Sanjay Banerji (Essex), analyses the issues of land transfer from agriculture to industry in the context of industrialization in West Bengal, India in this Financial Express piece entitled "No Way Out of This Plot", published on Sep 30, 2009.

To read the full article, click here.

News Posted: 05 October 2009      [Back to the Top]

LSE Teaching Excellence Award
Justin Kueh

Congratulations to Justin Kueh who received the LSE Teaching Excellence Award in June this year for Microeconomic Principles II (EC202)! Justin won another top prize, with nomination as the best class teacher students had ever encountered, partly for his gifts of explanation and intuition in this mathematically rigorous course partly for his evident dedication and contagious enthusiasm for the material. ("He extends the class material by relating it to current research" and "he makes me work hard for the subject because he is very motivating").

For more information, click here.

News Posted: 17 September 2009      [Back to the Top]

Recent Publications: Policy Papers
Maitreesh Ghatak - Small is smart

Maitreesh Ghatak analyses the effectiveness of microfinance in this article "Small is Smart" published in the Financial Express, August 24, 2009. He argues that while microfinance is no magic bullet for solving all the problems of poverty, it does relax credit constraints faced by the poor.

News Posted: 24 August 2009      [Back to the Top]

Journal Editorship
Maitreesh Ghatak

Maitreesh Ghatak will be taking up the position of Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Development Economics starting October 1, 2009.

News Posted: 27 July 2009      [Back to the Top]

Recent Publications:
Gerard Padró i Miquel

A paper by Gerard Padró i Miquel entitled "Defensive Weapons and Defensive Alliances" (joint with Sylvain Chassang) has been published in the American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings in May 2009. The paper provides a careful formal analysis of how the unilateral acquisition of defensive weapons may affect the sustainability of peace.

News Posted: 29 June 2009      [Back to the Top]

Recent Publications: Policy Papers
Anger in the Wake of Aila

Maitreesh Ghatak's latest article in Financial Express is on the role of media in democracy.

News Posted: 18 June 2009      [Back to the Top]

International Growth Centre
Oriana Bandiera

Oriana Bandiera has been appointed Co-Director, along with Raj Chetty (Berkeley) of the State Capabilities research programme at the International Growth Centre since April 2009.

News Posted: 02 June 2009      [Back to the Top]

EOPP Conference
Microfoundations of Development Workshop: May 29 - 30, 2009

Maitreesh Ghatak is organizing the "Microfoundations of Development Workshop" on May 29 - 30, 2009 at LSE. The venue of the conference is:

R505, 5th Floor
Lionel Robbins Building, LSE
10 Portugal Street, WC2A 2AE.

The programme committee consists of Maitreesh Ghatak, Tim Besley, Greg Fischer and Gerard Padro i Miguel.

Coordinator: Miriam Sinn (email:, Tel: +44 (0)20 7852 3536).

For more details, click here.

News Posted: 27 May 2009      [Back to the Top]

Journal Editorship
Maitreesh Ghatak

Starting January 2009, Maitreesh Ghatak has taken up the associate editorship of the Journal of Comparative Economics.

News Posted: 27 May 2009      [Back to the Top]

Best Paper Award
Nathan Foley-Fisher

Nathan Foley-Fisher was awarded the "Best Paper in International Finance" award at the RIEF IX Doctoral Meeting in Aix-en-Provence, France for his paper on "The HIPC Initiative and Terms of Trade Shocks".

For more details click here.

News Posted: 12 May 2009      [Back to the Top]

Recent Publications
Oriana Bandiera: Social Incentives in the Workplace

A paper by Oriana Bandiera entitled "Social Incentives in the Workplace" (joint with Iwan Barankay and Imran Rasul) is forthcoming in Review of Economic Studies.

In this paper, the authors present evidence on social incentives in the workplace, namely on whether workers’ behavior is affected by the presence of those they are socially tied to, even in settings where there are no externalities among workers due to either the production technology or the compensation scheme in place. To do so the authors combine data on individual worker productivity from a firm’s personnel records with information on each worker’s social network of friends in the firm. They find that compared to when she has no social ties with her co-workers, a given worker’s productivity is significantly higher when she works alongside friends who are more able than her, and significantly lower when she works with friends who are less able than her. As workers are paid piece rates based on individual productivity, social incentives can be quantified in monetary terms and are such that — (i) workers who are more able than their friends are willing to exert less effort and forgo 10% of their earnings; (ii) workers who have at least one friend who is more able than themselves are willing to increase their effort and hence productivity by 10%. The distribution of worker ability is such that the net effect of social incentives on the firm’s aggregate performance is positive. The results suggest that firms can exploit social incentives as an alternative to monetary incentives to motivate workers.

For more details, click here.

News Posted: 05 May 2009      [Back to the Top]

Recent Publications: Policy Papers
Maitreesh Ghatak - Poor Man's Capitalism

Property rights are accepted as central to economic development. But in this article published in the Financial Express on 23 March 2009, Maitreesh Ghatak shows that property reforms alone cannot solve the problems of the poor who do not have any assets at all. He highlights the importance of financial sector reforms to make property rights effective, rather than nominal .

For more details click here

News Posted: 23 March 2009      [Back to the Top]

Conference on Tax Policy Analysis
Henrik Kleven

Henrik Kleven, together with Joel Slemrod (University of Michigan) and Wojciech Kopczuk (Columbia University), is organizing a conference entitled “Tax Policy Analysis Using Large Panel Data Sets of Tax Returns” at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor on 13-14 March 2009.

For more details click here.

News Posted: 23 February 2009      [Back to the Top]

Recent Publications:
Tim Besley and Maitreesh Ghatak

"Property Rights and Economic Development" by Tim Besley and Maitreesh Ghatak is forthcoming as one of the chapters in the Volume V of the Handbook of Development Economics edited by Dani Rodrik and Mark Rosenzweig. The chapter develops a unified analytical framework for studying the role of property rights in economic development. It addresses two fundamental and related questions concerning the relationship between property rights and economic activity. (i) What are the mechanisms through which property rights affect economic activity? (ii) What are the determinants of property rights? In answering these, the chapter surveys some of the main empirical and theoretical ideas from the extensive literature on the topic.

News Posted: 13 February 2009      [Back to the Top]

International Growth Centre
Greg Fischer appointed Co-Program Director, Finance Theme

Greg Fischer has been appointed the Co-Program Director of the Finance Theme at the International Growth Centre from January 2009.

News Posted: 11 February 2009      [Back to the Top]

Recent Publications: Policy Papers
Maitreesh Ghatak: ''Barefoot Businessmen''

Maitreesh Ghatak, in this article in the Financial Express, looks at detailed poverty studies and demolishes some conventional wisdom. The poor, he shows, are doughty entrepreneurs and small improvement in physical infrastructure and well-designed cash incentives can make dramatic improvements in their quality of life

for further details click here

News Posted: 04 February 2009      [Back to the Top]

RES Annual Conference:
Robin Burgess and Henrik Kleven

Robin Burgess is Programme Chair and Henrik Kleven is Deputy Chair for the Annual Conference of the Royal Economic Society 2009, that will be held at the University of Surrey from Monday 20th to Wednesday 22nd April, 2009.

News Posted: 22 January 2009      [Back to the Top]