Indian macroeconomic debate in dismal state: CEA – 16 May 2017

  • Macroeconomic debate in India is in a dismal state resulting in the lack of contrarian views to official policy, Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) Arvind Subramanian said on 16 May 17.
  • “The state of macroeconomic commentary in India is disconcerting because independent experts refuse to speak the truth, and we end up getting only the one official view,” Subramanian said at a seminar here at the Teen Murti Memorial Museum.
  • Citing the example of economists outside of government, think-tanks and researchers, he said experts did not express their honest opinion on macroeconomic policy because “they feel they should stay on the right side of power”.
  • Unlike the more open debates in trade and development policy areas, macroeconomics lacks high quality, critical and contrarian inputs, because these come from groups like bankers or investors “who are dependent on government”, Subramanian said.
  • Besides, the “disinterested commentators lack confidence and are diffident to go contrary to official policy wisdom,” he added.
  • “We need more disinterested voices, especially from the universities, researchers and think-tanks, who are distant from the power centres. We need to build up such intellectual capacity in Indian macroeconomics, which is not considered sexy enough for academic interest,” the CEA said.

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