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Kaushik Basu new chief economist at World Bank

In brief

Kaushik Basu, unorthodox scholar

Kaushik Basu, unorthodox scholar

In September, the World Bank appointed the Indian scholar Kaushik Basu to be its new chief economist. He is 60 years old and the founder of the Centre for Development Economics at the Delhi School of Economics. Before joining the World Bank last month, he was a professor at Cornell University in the USA as well as adviser to the government of India. According to the World Bank, his appointment is proof of the growing influence of emerging markets. His pre­decessor was Justin Yifu Lin, a Chinese economist, whose term ended in summer.

Basu’s doctoral dissertation at the London School of Economics was supervised by Amartya Sen, who was later awarded the Nobel Prize. Basu specialises in decision theory and has spoken out in favour of promoting civic responsibility as well as reducing bureaucratic burdens. He has a reputation for unorthodox ideas. In India, for instance, he proposed to only punish the acceptance of bribes, but not the paying of bribes, arguing that this approach would make law enforcement easier. (ph)