- The Calorie Consumption Puzzle in India: An Empirical Investigation, (with Amit Basole), July 2012.
Over the past four decades, India has witnessed a paradoxical trend: average per capita calorie intake has declined even as real per capita monthly expenditure has increased over time. Since cross sectional evidence suggests a robust positive relationship between the two variables, the trend emerges as a major puzzle. The main explanations that have been offered in the literature to address the puzzle are: rural impoverishment, relative price changes, decline in calorie needs, diversification of diets, a squeeze on the food budget due to rising expenditures on nonfood essentials, and decline in subsistence consumption (due to commercialization). Using a panel data set of 28 Indian states and the national capital territory of Delhi over four time periods (1993-94, 1999-2000, 2004-05 and 2009-10), we test for these alternative explanations. Our results suggest that the puzzle can be explained by a combination of the following three factors: a food budget squeeze, declining subsistence consumption and diversification of diets. We do not find evidence of a strong effect of declining calorie needs.
- Historical versus Replacement Cost Profit Rates: What is the difference? When does it matter?, January 2012.
This paper explains the BEA methodology for computing historical cost and replacement (current) cost measures of the net stock of capital in the U.S. economy. Historical cost profit rates are counter-clockwise (clockwise) rotated versions of replacement cost profit rates during periods of inflation (disinflation) in the price of capital goods. Hence, during periods when the price index for capital goods is flat, the two profit rates move together; an example of such a period for the U.S economy is the whole postwar period 1946-2010. Moreover, trends in both replacement cost and historical cost profit rates display very similar movements over long periods, making the choice of capital stock valuation irrelevant for empirical analysis of profitability trends.
- Class Struggle and Economic Fluctuations in the Postwar U.S. Economy (with Ying Chen and Jong-seok Oh), January 2012.
The paper shows that the patterns of dynamic interaction that emerges from a 3-variable (profit share, unemployment rate and nonresidential fixed investment) vector autoregression for the postwar U.S. economy is consistent with the cylcical profit squeeze theory of macroeconomic fluctuations that was advanced by Marx in Chapter 25, Volume I of Capital.
- Reserve Army of Labour in the Postwar U.S. Economy, November 2011.
This paper presents estimates of stocks and flows relating to the reserve army of labour in the postwar U.S. economy, and comments on some interesting patterns in the data.
- Mortality and Socio-Economic Inequality in the Developing World, 1990-2009, September 2011.
Using cross country regressions, this paper constructs a novel distance-to-frontier metric for tracking broad socio-economic inequality (including access of the poor to health infrastructure) over time for individual countries. Given the unavailability of reliable and consistent direct measures of inequality for most poor countries, especially related to non-income aspects of living standards, the metric developed in this paper can be used as an alternative indirect measure that is intuitive and easy to compute. To highlight its potential use, the metric is used to rank countries in terms of improvements in socio-economic inequality for the period since 1990. Notable examples of poor performance are displayed by China, Thailand, Kenya and India.
- Technology, Distribution and the Rate of Profit in the U.S. Economy: Understanding the Current Crisis (with Ramaa Vasudevan), August 2011.
This paper offers a synoptic account of the state of the debate within Marxist scholars regarding the current structural crisis of capitalism, identifies two broad streams within the literature dealing, in turn, with aggregate demand and profitability problems, and proceeds to concentrate on an analysis of issues surrounding the profitability problem.
- Financialization, Household Credit and Economic Slowdown in the U.S., June 2011.
This paper develops a discrete-time Marxian circuit of capital model to analyze the links between financialization, nonproduction credit, stagnant real wages, three characteristic features of neoliberalism, and economic slowdown.
- Dynamics of Output and Employment in the U.S. Economy (with Duncan K. Foley), revised June 2011.
This paper investigates the changing relationship between employment and real output in the U.S. economy from 1948 to 2010 both at the aggregate level and at some major industry-grouping levels of disaggregation.
- Relations of Production and Modes of Surplus Extraction in India (with Amit Basole), revised January 2011.
This paper uses aggregate-level data, as well as case-studies, to trace the evolution of: (a) the dominant relations of production under which the vast majority of the Indian working people labour, and (b) the predominant ways in which the surplus labour of the direct producers is appropriated by the dominant classes.
- Is there a tendency for the rate of profit to fall? Econometric evidence from the US, 1948-2007 (with Panayiotis T. Manolakos), June 2010.
This paper uses a novel time series model to test Marx's hypothesis about the law of the tendential fall in the rate of profit in Volume 3 of Capital. Estimating the model with macroeconomic data for the US economy between 1948 and 2007, we find statistically significant evidence in favour of Marx's hypothesis. (Download data and code).
- The Paradox of Thrift and Crowding-In of Private Investment in a Simple IS/LM Model, November 2009.
Using quarterly data for the US economy for the period 1959-2009, this paper estimates a simple IS/LM model to find evidence of the operation of the paradox of thrift and crowding-in of private investment in the post-war U.S. economy; the result is especially strong in the neoliberal period of capitalism, i.e., the sub-period, 1980-2009.
- Marx-Biased Technical Change and the Neoclassical View of Income Distribution, July 2009.
This paper empirically tests two competing views about capital-labour substitution at the aggregate level in capitalist economies: the classical model with Marx-biased technical change versus the neoclassical model. Cross-country empirics using data from the Extended Penn World Tables 2.1 provides strong evidence against the neoclassical model. (Download data and code).
- Son Preference, Sex Selection and the Problem of Missing Women in India, June 2009.
This paper tests two alternative hypotheses about the increasing sex ratio at birth in India: biological factors like the prevalence of hepatitis B and social factors like sex selective abortion and son preference. Maximum likelihood estimation of a simple model of fertility behaviour provides strong evidence against the biological explanation. (Download code).
- Political Economy of Contemporary India: Some Comments (with Debarshi Das), May 2009.
Two of the most important characteristics of contemporary Indian reality are primary accumulation of capital and the continued existence of a huge pool of surplus labour. This article argues that Partha Chatterjee's attempt (EPW, 19 April, 2009) at explaining these important features, though insightful, is fraught with numerous theoretical and empirical problems.
- The Left and the 15th Lok Sabha Elections in India, May 2009.
This article argues that the electoral debacle faced by the social democratic left (SDL) parties in the 15th Lok Sabha elections in India was due to the fact that the state governments led by the SDL followed the very same neoliberal policies that these parties opposed and were able to halt at the central level.