Aug 20, 2015
Shanta Devarajan is
the Chief Economist of the World Bank’s Middle East and
North Africa Region. Since joining the World Bank
in 1991, he has been a Principal Economist and Research Manager for
Public Economics in the Development Research Group, and the Chief
Economist of the Human Development Network, South Asia, and Africa
Shanta was the director of the World
Development Report 2004, ‘Making Services Work for Poor
People’. Before 1991, he was on the faculty
of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of
Shanta is the author and co-author of over
100 publications, with his research covering public economics,
trade policy, natural resources and the environment, and general
equilibrium modeling of developing countries.
Born in Sri Lanka, Shanta received his B.A. in
Mathematics from Princeton University and his
Ph.D. in Economics from University of California,
In this episode, you will learn:
- why Shanta decided to take a
sabbatical from lecturing and never went back.
- about Shanta’s passion
to end world poverty.
- how experiencing living on a $1 a
day with a poor family made Shanta realize that the failure lies
- how empowering people in
with information could be the
catalyst to end poverty.
huge government failures and
market distortions threatening the economy
- why teachers and doctors in India
are absent from work 25% and 40% of the
time respectively and how this is affecting
- how the powerful
medical union in India are making healthcare
inaccessible to the poor.
- about how crony
capitalism is preventing SMEs from growing in
the MENA region.
- why Tunisia has failed to
develop into an export-oriented economy due the legacy of
the Ben Ali family and their
connections to firms operating in heavily protected
- that the failure for governments to
continue with social
contracts due to high deficits
triggered the Arab
- about Colonel
Gaddafi’s regime and how he managed to keep
peace between tribes.
- how water
subsidies and water-intensive crops are
depleting water resources
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