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Nirvikar Singh
University of California, Santa Cruz
boxjenk@ucsc.edu
Nirvikar Singh is Professor of Economics at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), where he holds the Sarbjit Singh Aurora Chair of Sikh and Punjabi Studies. He also directs UCSC’s Center for Analytical Finance, and its South Asian Studies Initiative. He is a member of the Advisory Group to the Finance Minister of India on G-20 matters. He previously served as Director of the Santa Cruz Center for International Economics, Co-Director of the Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, Special Advisor to the Chancellor (all at UCSC), and Consultant to the Chief Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance, Government of India. He organised one of the first major US conferences on Indian economic reform. 

He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and his B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, where he was awarded the Allyn Young Prize, Gonner Prize and Ely Devons Prize.

Professor Singh’s current research topics include entrepreneurship, information technology and development, electronic commerce, business strategy, political economy, federalism, economic growth and the Indian economy. He has authored over 100 research papers and co-authored/edited four books: Joint Ventures, International Investment and Technology Transfer; The Political Economy of Federalism in India; Waiting to Connect: India IT Revolution Bypasses the Domestic Industry; and The Oxford Handbook of the Economics of the Pacific Rim. He has also served as an advisor for several startups and knowledge services firms in Silicon Valley and in India.


Articles By Nirvikar Singh
Financial inclusion: Concepts, issues, and policies for India
Posted On: 17 Aug 2017

Topics:   Finance

The International Growth Centre recently brought out a synthesis paper (Singh 2017) that lays out the basic concepts surrounding financial inclusion, and reviews a wide range of IGC and other studies on financial inclusion. At a workshop organised by the IGC in collaboration with Ideas for India and Indian Statistical Institute, Rohini Pande (Harvard Kennedy School), S. Krishnan (State government of Tamil Nadu), Ashok Bhattacharya (Business Standard), and R Gopalan (ex-Ministry of Finance) discussed the key lessons emerging from research, implications for policy, and areas where further work is needed.
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Union Budget 2016: Will it support India’s economic transformation?
Posted On: 08 Mar 2016


In this year’s Budget speech, the Finance Minister articulated the government’s agenda to ‘Transform India’ through a set of economic reforms framed in terms of ‘nine pillars’ - agriculture, rural development, health, education and skilling, infrastructure, financial sector, governance, fiscal discipline, and tax reform. In this article, Nirvikar Singh, Professor of Economics at the University of California Santa Cruz, summarises the highlights of the nine pillars and discusses whether or to what extent this Budget will support India’s economic transformation.
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Foreign currency borrowing by Indian firms: What do we know?
Posted On: 09 Nov 2015

Topics:   Finance

As foreign currency borrowing by Indian firms has been increasing, concerns have surfaced about rising associated risks. Hence, recent policy changes seeking to make the regulatory regime simpler and more transparent are timely. This column addresses several important questions regarding foreign currency borrowing of Indian firms, the answers to which can provide a firmer basis for ongoing policy formulation.
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The 2015-16 Union budget and India’s growth
Posted On: 04 Mar 2015


The 2015-16 Union budget – the first full-year budget of the new government – was presented last week. In this article, Nirvikar Singh, Professor of Economics at the University of California Santa Cruz, contends that the budget is a welcome return to transparency and sanity, and has a host of small changes that add up to a promising reform agenda.
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‘Cry, the Beloved Country’: Mending Punjab’s economy
Posted On: 11 Feb 2015


The growth rate of Punjab, which once ranked among India’s most affluent states, is slowing. In this article, Nirvikar Singh, who holds the Sarbjit Singh Aurora Chair of Sikh and Punjabi Studies at University of California Santa Cruz, diagnoses key issues with the Punjab economy and provides his perspective on what it would take to mend it.
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Challenges and priorities for financial sector reform in India
Posted On: 17 Nov 2014


I4I Editor Nirvikar Singh (Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz) interviews K.P. Krishnan (Former Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance) on the central government’s plans and priorities for financial sector reform, and associated challenges. Dr Krishnan provides his perspective on issues including the regulatory architecture, financial inclusion initiatives, strengthening the banking system, and infrastructure financing.
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The Goods and Services Tax: Light at the end of the tunnel?
Posted On: 18 Jun 2014


As the Goods and Services Tax is inching towards implementation, a major overhaul of the Indian tax system has also been in progress. This article discusses three key strengths of the ongoing process, and highlights the merits of introducing GST as early as possible.
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Can India grow faster again?
Posted On: 06 Dec 2013

Topics:   Economic Growth
Tags:   recession

India’s growth prospects seem gloomy. This article argues that India can grow fast again even in the current global economic climate as it is different from other emerging economies in a number of important aspects. It recommends creating new businesses and jobs, developing internal supply chain networks, and domestic production of affordable consumer goods for reviving the growth rate.
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How can Indians be happier?
Posted On: 30 Oct 2013

Topics:   Economic Growth
Tags:   GDP

The recently released World Happiness Report 2013 seeks to go beyond Gross Domestic Product and the Human Development Index to understand what really matters to people for their well-being. It is found that perceived social support and the effectiveness and honesty of the government are strongly associated with citizens’ life evaluations in India.
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Foreign investors under stress: Evidence from India
Posted On: 19 Jul 2013


Emerging market policymakers are concerned about the effects of foreign portfolio flows on financial stability. This column focuses on the behaviour of investors in extreme events, allowing for the possibility that what happens under stressed market conditions may differ from day-to-day outcomes. The findings for India suggest that while on good days, foreign investors exacerbate the boom by bringing in additional capital, no significant effects are found on very bad days in the local economy.
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Understanding India’s monetary policy
Posted On: 21 Dec 2012


From the outside looking in, it may seem that India’s central bank is making up its own rules, making it difficult to predict the next movements in the interest rate. This column argues that the central bank is in fact following a rule, you just have to look hard enough.
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Measuring India’s Capital Control Regime
Posted On: 23 Aug 2012


India’s policies on international capital flows are extremely complex, in part due to the absence of a consensus on the value of capital account controls. This column argues that the tools for measuring the implementation of the policy need to be revisited, and presents new evidence to suggest that India’s capital account has been liberalised – without leading to economic disaster.
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Manufacturing, management and mysteries
Posted On: 27 Jul 2012


The private sector is crucial to India’s development. This column asks how it can be more effective. Looking at a large sample of Indian manufacturers it suggests that what many firms may be missing is good management.
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