Category Archives: Business, Economics and Finance

Income Inequality in the United States

ECON PROJET IMAGE 2Income inequality in the United States is at historic heights (Pew Research, 2013). Unless the underlying structural drivers of income inequality are addressed, an increasingly restive populace could fundamentally undermine the efficacy of the institutions that promote peace, prosperity and progress in American society. For instance, (1) increasing disillusionment with the political establishment could compromise the delicate balance of power between despotism and anarchy through the rise of authoritarian or populist forces (Hamilton, 1781), (2) associating the pursuit of knowledge as an exploitative attribute of the economic elite could result in a skepticism for education that stymies the nation’s economic potential (Lyngar, 2015), (3) directing the frustration compounded by inequality towards hard-working and productive immigrants could result in the compromise of humanitarian values and the nation’s human capital (Dustmann, 2004).  In short, the growing resentment with the economic and political elite as a consequence of increasing income inequality could result in the adoption of measures that exacerbate various negative social and economic trends. There is thereby a pressing need to understand and address the structural drivers of income inequality. Unfortunately, rather than proactively address the key structural drivers of income inequality, policy makers tend to reactively appease the public subject to the negative effects of income inequality. This paper specifically analyzes one such significant case of appeasement in the recent past where policy makers increased access to housing as a response to voters on the wrong side of the rising income inequality trend (Rajan, 2010).

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STTI Social Entrepreneurship Update (26th Sept, 2014)

bezos quoteHello everyone!

Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, famously noted that if a team cannot be fed by two pizzas then the team is just way too big (Bezos’ Two-Pizza Team Rule).

The team leads of the STTI Soc. Entr. Committee have appreciated the wisdom behind this observation as we found that both productivity and a collaborative environment were compromised in our first two meetings this semester due to the size of our initial team. Low productivity naturally serves as a huge impediment to our objective of collaboratively developing working business models for firms in India.

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Designing a Business Model to Transform the Indian Education System

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July, 2014. Rural Education Center (REC) Rishi Valley School, Madanapalle, India.

This article is an effort to describe a profitable business model for a private schooling firm in India that looks to maximize the quality and accessibility of its educational services.

The intention is to design a business model for a firm that will initiate a systemic push towards an education system designed with the veil of ignorance that was described by John Rawls (ie ensuring equality of opportunity for children of all social and economic backgrounds).

I will first discuss a series of ideas that form the foundation of this model and then finally weave those ideas together in order to describe it.

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Addressing India’s Immense Healthcare Challenges

healthcare

An article I recently read in the Wall Street Journal titled, “The Ailing Health of a Growing Nation” describes how the public healthcare system in India is in an abysmal state. According to the article, a senior official in the Indian health ministry said that the country has too many competing social priorities (like education and infrastructure) which cause an extremely inadequate investment in public healthcare by the Indian Government (1 – 1.4 % of GDP). Upon reading the article and conducting some cursory research about the state of public healthcare in India, it was evident that the egregious healthcare problems/crises that India faces will simply not be tackled through Government programs and healthcare alone.

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Barbarians at the Gate: Leveraged Buyouts

Barbarians at the gate

I watched the movie Barbarians at the Gate (1993) yesterday and was interested in understanding one of its central themes, the concept of leverage buyouts (LBOs).

The movie is based on a book written by the investigative journalists Bryan Burrough and John Helyar about the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco, a company that primarily sold tobacco and food products. The book in turn was essentially a compilation of a series of articles that the authors wrote for the Wall Street Journal.

The leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco in 1988 was carried out in an environment that was critical of corporate and    executive excesses. There was a bidding war for the buyout of the company.

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Analyzing India’s Current Account Deficit, Inflation Rate and Fiscal Deficit

Project by Aakash Pydi for the Foundation for Democratic Reforms

India’s current account deficit for the 2011-2012 fiscal year was roughly 4.8 % of GDP (~27.8 billion dollars).  The objective of this project is to comprehensively understand the significant causes, potential solutions and economic dynamics of India’s alarming current account deficit. The research for this project was conducted by referring to books, research papers, Government data, videos published on the internet, journals and newspaper articles. As macroeconomic and socio-economic phenomenon tend to be intricately interconnected, the project explores numerous features of the Indian economy such as the inflation rate, Reserve Bank policies, fiscal deficit, contributing collective social tendency, and so on. The project is split into two modules. Module 1 broadly analyzes India’s current account deficit and the necessary way forward for the country to address the deficit. Module 2 exclusively explores India’s inflation rate and fiscal deficit.  Note that the contents of module 2 behave as a subset of module 1 in the context of understanding the drivers of India’s current account deficit.