The State of Economics: Equilibrium, Welfare, and Information

Thinkers instrumental in shaping contemporary economics do a major stocktaking of the field, and also look ahead at the challenges of global development. The speakers reflect on the way thinking in economics has evolved in his or her area of interest, and also speculate about how the global economy is likely to evolve and the challenges this will pose for humankind, economic analysis, and polic... view more

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Equilibrium, Welfare, and Information: Kaushik Basu

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Equilibrium, Welfare, and Information: Kenneth Arrow part 1

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Equilibrium, Welfare, and Information: Kenneth Arrow part 2

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Equilibrium, Welfare, and Information: Shanta Devarajan

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Equilibrium, Welfare, and Information: Karla Hoff

About the Presenters

Kenneth Arrow

Joan Kenney Professor of Economics and Professor of Operations Research, Stanford University and 1972 Nobel Laureate in Economics
Kenneth Arrow is the Joan Kenney Professor of Economics and Professor of Operations Research, emeritus; a CHP/PCOR fellow; and an FSI senior fellow by courtesy. He is a Nobel Prize-winning economist whose work has been primarily in economic theory and operations, focusing on areas including social choice theory, risk bearing, medical economics, general equilibrium analysis, inventory theory, and the economics of information and innovation. He was one of the first economists to note the existence of a learning curve, and he also showed that under certain conditions an economy reaches a general equilibrium. In 1972, together with Sir John Hicks, he won the Nobel Prize in economics, for his pioneering contributions to general equilibrium theory and welfare theory.

Kaushik Basu

Shanta Devarajan

Chief Economist, Middle East and North Africa Region, World Bank
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, the South Asia Region and Africa Region. He 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 Government. The author or co-author of over 100 publications, Mr. Devarajan’s research covers public economics, trade policy, natural resources and the environment, and general equilibrium modeling of developing countries. Born in Sri Lanka, Mr. Devarajan received his B.A. in mathematics from Princeton University and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Karla Hoff

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank
Karla Hoff is a Lead Economist in the World Bank's Development Research Group and she was Co-Director of the World Development Report 2015 on Mind, Society, and Behavior. Much of her work focuses on using the tools of economics to study social interactions. She has published papers in the American Economic Review that explain how segregation between renters and homeowners can create neighborhoods of highly unequal civic quality, how cueing social stigma impedes academic performance, and how Big Bang privatization in post-Soviet states impeded the emergence of the political demand for the rule of law. She was a member of the MacArthur Research Network on Inequality and Economic Performance, 1996–2006. She coedited The Economics of Rural Organization and Poverty Traps. In current work, she is evaluating in India the effect of a large-scale women’s empowerment project on the bias against women and a program of participatory theater. Her work spans conceptual analysis and grassroots fieldwork. She has a BA in French from Wellesley College and a PhD in economics from Princeton.