CEA on sycophancy of Indian economic commentators

I had blogged earlier on the sycophancy of certain commentators on Indian economics, who were bending over backwards to defend certain things, with utter disregard to evidence; some doing that despite being professional academicians and not just journalists. Three cases in point are 

1. Bhagwati and Panagariya's book "Why growth matters?" where they twist and torture numbers too much to discredit Kerala for its success in education.

Some of these arguments are too ridiculous that even a 12th grade student wouldn't make. For example, the claim that Kerala didn't register as much rate of growth in literacy as  Gujarat in recent years. It essentially means that Kerala's literacy should grow at 10% despite it being at 90%+ levels. In other words, Kerala's literacy should cross 100% to satisfy B&P's criteria.

2. The less said about the defense on demonetisation, the better. Some wonder why professional economists like Bhagwati made such loose arguments.

3. The other related example is this analysis on Odd-Even scheme by Dr. Shamika Ravi, which uses a simple pre-post (non rigorous) method of evaluation but phrases the conclusions as if they are of gold standard. Any undergraduate would tell that one can't make claims of such nature ("data is unambiguous...") with simple pre-post analysis. It is particularly important to note that this analysis comes after a more rigorous analysis (diff-in-diff) on the same has been published, and this new analysis doesn't refer to the old one. This is plain and pure intellectual dishonesty, to say the least. 

These are harsh words but Chief Economic Advisor Prof. Arvind Subramanian also shared something similar in his recent VKRV lecture. He didn't use the word "sycophancy" but the essence is clear.

My claim is that experts hold back their objective assessment. Instead, they censor  themselves, and in public fora are insufficiently critical..... To the extent they offer criticism, it is watered down to the point of being unidentifiable as criticism.

Prof. Subramanian further adds 
On the domestic side, there is a clear relationship between expert analysis and official decisions. Before policy decisions, the expert analysis is often illuminating. But once the decisions are taken, it is truly striking how the tune and tone of the analysis changes. Analysts fall over backwards to rationalize the official decision.
Prof. Subramanian quotes example of discourse on FRBM but it can be easily extended to demonetisation in particular and other aspects in general. Consider the example of demonetisation: All those economists trying to come up with justifications as to how awesome demonetisation is, have never ever recommended this in any of their earlier analysis or books, before it was implemented. If it is such a good policy, why didn't they recommend earlier? Now, after the decision is taken, they were coming up with justifications, to use CEA's words "fall over backwards to rationalize the official decision".

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