Lord Nicholas Stern, IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government, LSE and Director of the LSE India Observatory, will discuss his new book, with Himanshu of JNU, Delhi and Peter Lanjouw of the Free University of Amsterdam, How Lives Change: Palanpur, India, and Development Economics. Using a unique data set consisting of seven full (100%) surveys of one Indian village, one for every decade since Independence, Nick will reflect on the past, present and future, both of India and of development economics, seen through the experience of Palanpur in the years since Independence.
This talk will be followed by a drinks reception, book sale and signing, all welcome.
About the speaker
Lord Professor Nicholas Stern is the IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government, Chairman of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and Head of the India Observatory at the London School of Economics (LSE). President of the British Academy, July 2013 – 2017, and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2014.
Professor Stern has held academic appointments in the UK at Oxford, Warwick and the LSE and abroad including at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Ecole Polytechnique and the Collège de France in Paris, the Indian Statistical Institute in Bangalore and Delhi, and the People’s University of China in Beijing.
He was Chief Economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, 1994-1999, and Chief Economist and Senior Vice President at the World Bank, 2000-2003.
He was Second Permanent Secretary to Her Majesty’s Treasury from 2003-2005; Director of Policy and Research for the Prime Minister’s Commission for Africa from 2004-2005; Head of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, published in 2006; and Head of the Government Economic Service from 2003-2007.
He was knighted for services to economics in 2004, made a cross-bench life peer as Baron Stern of Brentford in 2007, and appointed Companion of Honour for services to economics, international relations and tackling climate change in 2017. He has published more than 15 books and 100 articles and including Why are We Waiting? The Logic, Urgency and Promise of Tackling Climate Change.
About the book
Development economics is about understanding how and why lives change. How Lives Change: Palanpur, India, and Development Economics studies a single village in a crucially important country to illuminate the drivers of these changes, why some people do better or worse than others, and what influences mobility and inequality.
How Lives Change draws on seven decades of detailed data collection by a team of dedicated development economists to describe the evolution of Palanpur's economy, its society, and its politics. The emerging story of integration of the village economy with the outside world is placed against the backdrop of a rapidly transforming India and, in turn, helps to understand the transformation. It puts development economics into practice to assess its performance and potential in a unique and powerful way to show how the development of one village since India's independence can be set in the context of the entire country's story.
How Lives Change sets out the role of, and scope for, public policy in shaping the lives of individuals. It describes how changes in Palanpur's economy since the late 1950s were initially driven by the advance of agriculture through land reforms, the expansion of irrigation and the introduction of "green revolution" technologies. Since the mid-1980s, newly emerging off-farm opportunities in nearby towns and outside agriculture became the key driver of growth and change, profoundly influencing poverty, income mobility, and inequality in Palanpur. Village institutions are shown to have evolved in subtle but clear ways over time, both shaping and being shaped by economic change. Individual entrepreneurship and initiative is found to play a critical role in driving and responding to the forces of change; and yet, against a backdrop of real economic growth and structural transformation, this book shows that human development outcomes have shown only weak progress and remain stubbornly resistant to change.