Saturday, October 28, 2006

Economically In-cite-ful

The most cited papers in economics since 1970: Value Added

"Within these 146 papers," they write, "an elite group of 11 economists authored or co-authored at least three papers. Robert Barro, Eugene Fama and Joseph Stiglitz have six each. Michael Jensen follows with five; Robert Lucas and David Kreps with four; and Robert Engle, Lars Hansen, Robert Merton, Edward Prescott and Stephen Ross have three each."

The single most frequently cited article? Econometrician Halbert White's 1980 paper on robust standard errors, "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance-Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity."

among the authors of the top fifteen papers, eight have already won Nobel Prizes (Daniel Kahneman, Clive Granger/Robert Engle, James Heckman, Fischer Black/Myron Scholes, George Akerlof, George Stigler and Robert Lucas.)

"Theory loses out to empirical work, and micro and macro give way to growth and development in the 1990s,"

Friday, October 27, 2006

In Chennai, it pours

Its that time of the year… the retreating monsoon's battering the city, lighting up the sky in a million thunder-flashes, flooding city streets and causing traffic jams all over. I'm in a car, on my way home, winding its way through side-streets, the visibility's less that a feet, Saravana Stores is still crowded as ever (wow, what a business formula!), the FM radio's playing old tamil songs. Ah! What a moment.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Happy Deepavali fellas !

Wishing everyone a happy and a de-light-ful Deepavali !

I just love Deepavali time in Chennai - its just crackers and crackers everywhere, homes and shops decorated, people milling the markets...may the festival of lights bring shine to everyone's life !

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The perfect bookseller

It was a lonely night at the Mumbai Airport. I was ambling about, exhausted after a day's travel, trying to find something that would catch my attention.

I love looking at books, or well.. at the covers of books. Opening and reading them is always another day's chore. Staring fixedly at the huge rack of books in airport stores with intense concentration & interest and then strolling away nonchalantly when they announce the boarding, much to the chagrin of the storeowner, is my forte. But that day it was not to be.

That day I met my match. A book (cover) inside the store caught my attention. Damn, why do they make these covers so catchy? As I strolled in to investigate (the covers of) the book further, came a strong "Good evening Sir!". Yeah, like it was from a long lost chum or something (baring the "Sir!" bit of course). Startled, I looked up to see the store owner throwing a wide smile and waving a green something in my direction.

"Sir! I've got just THE thing for you". Huh ?.
"Something you've always wanted to know!" The meaning of life? I raised my eyebrows quizzically (in my mind of course, can't let these bozos in on such profound questions)
"Something you'll love to read, I'm sure".
"So many people have recommended this book, people like you... people who have come back to appreciate it.... who have come back asking me for more. This one's a gem sir. Just made for you. Have a look sir". This one's got a gift of the gab, I thought.

The miser (I'd prefer to call it the astute financial mind) in me poked my conscience. The book looked glossy. Must cost quite a bit. Keeping an interested face, I read the back cover first.. trying hard to glance at the price tag. The numbers looked small at first. 2 numbers, a decimal point and 2 numbers hence. Then I saw the pound sign before.

"Don't bother about the price sir. We accept credit cards". Eh ? I thought the credit cards expected me to repay.
"You can always expense it sir. I'll give you a bill". Ah, this guy'd got it all worked out.
"And, if you don't like it sir, if my recommendation is wrong, you can return it when you come next. But let me tell you sir, thats never happened.".

The boarding announcement blared at just that opportune moment. I was stuck. Much as I could do the "Sorry fella. Will buy next time. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a plane to catch" routine, I was impressed by a person recommending a book at such a godforsaken hour. I've been to millions of bookstores, countless times I've wanted to desperately buy a book but never found one to my liking, and nearly so many times I've wished someone would help me out of the choices at hand; someone who would understand what I want and recommend me something good. (Well, atleast this guy pretended he understood what I wanted, thats a step)

And so culminated the tale of the purchase of the costliest book I've ever bought. Whether the book and the buyer lived happily ever after is a story for another blogpost altogether.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A tail of 2 cities

Bangalore: To realize how starkly different Bangalore is from Chennai, one only needs to land at its airport from Chennai - the change almost hits you at the face. Bangalore is so cool ! It feels like a villager landing up in a metropolitan disc.

Mangalore: An airstrip located on a plateau atop a hill with the runway terminating close to the edge, how awesome. Mangalore resembles Kerala very closely - its just greenery and greenery everywhere, with winding roads traversing the mountainous terrain. Went to a beach called Kapu, about 2 winding hours away (with a driver who thought he was driving formula-1) - it was late evening, well past sunset, but the moon was shining bright, the breeze was strong and the beach was awesome; a lighthouse on a nearby hillock shone out powerful beams to the distant glittering ships - a truly beautiful place.