ISED advocates ‘Pandemic Economics’ as a new discipline

Our Bureau | Updated on April 06, 2020

Such research and studies are crucial for policymaking during a crisis

Kochi, April 6

Considering the complexities of shaping a comprehensive Covid-19 mitigation policy at the national level and in the States, the Institute of Small Enterprises and Development (ISED) advocates developing and strengthening ‘Pandemic Economics’ as a new discipline, with facilities for research and studies.

ISED Director PM Mathew points out that this is crucial for making evidence-based policy on a real-time basis. ISED is undertaking a comprehensive study on the impact of Covid-19 on livelihoods in the country, with focus on strategic options.

How do Norway and Germany stand out in terms of steering their economies during the current Covid-19 pandemics and where is the US failing? The US President Donald Trump’s statements relating to public policy options have triggered widespread debates in academic circles and the global media.

It is not simply a matter of political choice to take policy decisions at such critical junctures. Besides a hard core evidence base, sensitive policy decisions — such as whether to go for a partial or full or no lockdown of a country or a region — have to factor in a variety of strategic factors that fall into the two broad dimensions of public health exigencies, on the one hand, and economic policymaking, on the other.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rightly taken the wise decision of delegating this task to the State governments who, in turn, will do it with the help of a proper advisory set-up.

Evolving branch of Economics

‘Pandemic Economics’ is evolving as a new branch of Economics that analyses and makes policy recommendations on the basis of historical data and analysis on such pandemics. For the economist, every problem involving economic decisions is an ‘economic problem’, having implications on resource allocation and public spending, as per some rational criteria.

It is important to note that economists of Indian origin have richly contributed to the global debates on Pandemic Economics. At the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago, the hub of Pandemic Economics research and policy debates, debates on Covid-19 have been spearheaded by a 51-member team of economists, including Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee and former Governor of Reserve Bank of India, Raghuram Rajan.

Published on April 06, 2020

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