Diverse insights on economic policy and Indian economy take centre stage at ISB-NBER 2023 Conference

By Team Marcomm Dec 18, 2023

The second edition of the ISB-NBER conference on Economic Policy and the Indian Economy, hosted at the Hyderabad campus of the Indian School of Business (ISB) on December 16-17, 2023, served as a platform for global thinkers and experts to engage in discussions pertinent to economic policy, particularly fintech and financial inclusion.

The conference, a collaborative effort between ISB and the US National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), witnessed discussions by over 20 noted economists, academicians, and other experts, including Raghuram Rajan, former Governor of RBI; Viral V. Acharya, former Deputy Governor of RBI; James Poterba, Mitsui Professor of Economics at MIT and President and CEO, NBER; Bhagwan Chowdhry, Professor of Finance, ISB; Shilpa Aggarwal, Assistant Professor, Economics and Public Policy, ISB; and Amit Seru, Professor of Finance, Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Professor Shilpa Aggarwal, co-organiser of the event from ISB, said, “We had an intellectually stimulating two days learning about the latest research on policy-relevant issues such as fintech and financial inclusion. The event served as a testament to ISB’s commitment to fostering collaborative platforms that facilitate the exchange of knowledge and ideas on critical economic issues.”

James Poterba, Mitsui Professor of Economics at MIT and President and CEO, NBER at the Conference

Professor James Poterba said, “The rapid rise of the digital financial services in India is informative for questions about the financial sector, which not only applies to India but to the global economy.”

Raghuram Rajan termed the conference a “fantastic experience”. “It is heartening to see so much research being done on Indian issues,” he said.

Broadly conceptualised, the ISB-NBER conference series showcases research encompassing topics relevant to India and other nations in South Asia. In keeping with this objective, the focus of the 2023 conference was on the theme ‘Capital Markets, Technology, Financial Inclusion, and Economic Growth’.

Saying that the ISB-NBER conference is “particularly important”, Viral Acharya commented, “India has had a huge digital leapfrogging in fintech over the last ten years on the back of Aadhaar, UPI, Jan Dhan Yojana bank accounts; and the newer innovations like the account aggregator and the Open Credit Enablement Network.”

Professor Amit Seru, co-organiser of the event from NBER said that the two days the researchers spent at ISB were vibrant in terms of discussion and debate.

“The gathering brought in leading researchers from NBER and ISB, as well as other academics in the broad Indian community who were studying these aspects with a view to see what we learn and what remains to be learnt,” he said.

Presentations and discussions revolved around this central theme, providing a platform to illuminate the diverse global perspectives and thought leadership on these crucial aspects.

The conference delved into the intricate relationships between capital markets and technology, with a particular emphasis on their intersection, while also addressing the pivotal connection between financial inclusion and economic growth. The discussions brought forth a wealth of insights, enriching the collective understanding of the economic landscape.