Padma Desai

Padma Desai is the Gladys and Roland Harriman Professor of Comparative Economic Systems and director of the Center for Transition Economies at Columbia University. A leading scholar of the Russian economy, she is the author of Conversations on Russia: Reform from Yeltsin to Putin, which was the Financial Times Pick of the Year in 2007, and coathor of Work Without Wages: Russia's Non-Payment Crisis (MIT Press). Her most recent book, on the current economic crisis, is From Financial Crisis to Global Recovery.

  • Breaking Out

    Breaking Out

    An Indian Woman's American Journey

    Padma Desai

    The brave and moving memoir of a woman's journey of transformation: from a sheltered Indian upbringing to success and academic eminence in America.

    Padma Desai grew up in the 1930s in the provincial world of Surat, India, where she had a sheltered and strict upbringing in a traditional Gujarati Anavil Brahmin family. Her academic brilliance won her a scholarship to Bombay University, where the first heady taste of freedom in the big city led to tragic consequences—seduction by a fellow student whom she was then compelled to marry. In a failed attempt to end this disastrous first marriage, she converted to Christianity.

    A scholarship to America in 1955 launched her on her long journey to liberation from the burdens and constraints of her life in India. With a growing self-awareness and transformation at many levels, she made a new life for herself, met and married the celebrated economist Jagdish Bhagwati, became a mother, and rose to academic eminence at Harvard and Columbia.

    How did she navigate the tumultuous road to assimilation in American society and culture? And what did she retain of her Indian upbringing in the process? This brave and moving memoir—written with a novelist's skill at evoking personalities, places, and atmosphere, and a scholar's insights into culture and society, community, and family—tells a compelling and thought-provoking human story that will resonate with readers everywhere.

    • Hardcover $5.75 £4.99
  • Work Without Wages

    Work Without Wages

    Russia's Non-Payment Crisis

    Padma Desai and Todd Idson

    Focusing on the roots and scale of wage nonpayment, the book is an indispensable guide to understanding Russia's economic restructuring and of the social costs of the transition born by the general population.

    The seventy-year-old Soviet tradition of "wages without work" soon turned into "work without wages" when the planned economy began switching to a market system in 1992. Lack of budget discipline, the breakdown of contractual obligations at all levels, and the failure of state agencies to enforce laws among businesses led to pervasive wage nonpayment to workers in both the public and private sectors. In this book Padma Desai and Todd Idson combine econometric rigor, policy analysis, and empirical evidence to analyze wage nonpayment patterns across demographic groups defined by gender, age, and education, and in various occupations, industries, and regions of Russia. They also examine wage nonpayment to Russia's military personnel, in the wider context of a disintegrating military. Focusing on the roots and scale of wage nonpayment, the book is an indispensable guide to understanding Russia's economic restructuring and of the social costs of the transition born by the general population. Among the questions addressed are: How did Russia's factory managers decide who, among various categories of workers, would not get paid? Did wage denial push people below the poverty line? How did families survive when denied wages? Did strikes lead to reduced wage arrears? The authors describe a variety of survival strategies on the part of Russian families, including informal paid activity, the selling of family assets, home production for consumption and sale, and the receiving of cash from relatives.

    • Hardcover $8.75 £6.99
  • Going Global

    Going Global

    Transition from Plan to Market in the World Economy

    Padma Desai

    The transition of the former socialist and otherwise centrally planned economies into the world trading and financial system has become a major concern to both policymakers and social scientists. In this book experts from diverse economies address the principal issues raised by this transition. The chapters, which cover fourteen countries of East and Central Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Asia, are the result of a three-year research project. Although the contributors share a unity of design and analysis, each author focuses on the issues most relevant to the country or countries under discussion. In her introductory essay, project leader Padma Desai synthesizes the findings and cuts through recent analytical confusion over such issues as shock therapy versus gradualism. Rather than advocate the faster the better, she discusses the possible difficulty of sustaining rapid transition reforms and globalization in the face of rising unemployment. The countries discussed are the Czech Republic, Hungary, the German Democratic Republic (now eastern Germany), Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, China, Vietnam, and India.

    Contributors The Czech Republic, Josef C. Brada and A. M. Kutan. Hungary, Andras Blaho and Peter Gal. East Germany, Jürgen von Hagen. Poland, Stanislaw Wellisz. Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, Kalev Kukk. Finland, Urpo Kivikari. Russia, Padma Desai. Kazakhstan, Heiner Flassbeck, Lutz Hoffman, and Ludger Lindlar. Uzbekistan, Michael Connolly. China, Richard S. Eckaus. Vietnam, David Dollar and Borje Ljunggren. India, Manmohan Agarwal.

    • Hardcover $17.75 £14.99
  • Marxism, Central Planning, and the Soviet Economy

    Economic Essays in Honor of Alexander Erlich

    Padma Desai

    This book contains important contributions by prominent economic theorists - among them Paul Samuelson and Kenneth Arrow - and by leading experts on Marxist economic thought and the Soviet economy such as Abram Bergson. The book opens with an introductory essay by Padma Desai on the life and work of Alexander Erlich, the distinguished Russian-born economist and Sovietologist. Essays in the first part of the book focus on central tenets in Marxist economic theory, and are by Samuelson ("Marx without Matrixes: Understanding the Rate of Profit"), Duncan Foley, and John Roemer. The book's second part covers resource allocation and international comparisons of Centrally Planned Economies (CPEs), Arrow, Desai and Ricardo Martin, and Richard Ericson address the issues of efficient resource allocation. Bergson and Martin Weitzman deal in separate essays with the problems of comparing CPE economic performance with that of a market economy, whereas Franklyn Holzman discusses the interactions between CPEs and market economies in his study of dumping, "The Polish Golf Cart Case." Richard Portes compares central planners and monetarists, suggesting that they might be "fellow travelers" who follow the same economic road for a considerable distance before their paths diverge. The final part of the book explores several key aspects of the Soviet economy. Holland Hunter writes on Soviet planning in the 1930s and Gregory Grossman, in "Economics of Virtuous Haste," examines post-revolutionary industrialization. Joseph Berliner discusses the issues of social structure and fertility, and, in the final essay, Robert Campbell reviews energy pricing policies and decisions on energy use in the USSR.

    • Hardcover $45.00

Contributor

  • Money, Crises, and Transition

    Money, Crises, and Transition

    Essays in Honor of Guillermo A. Calvo

    Carmen M. Reinhart, Carlos A. Végh, and Andrés Velasco

    Essays by prominent scholars and policymakers honor one of the most influential macroeconomists of the last thirty years, discussing the themes behind his work.

    Guillermo Calvo, one of the most influential macroeconomists of the last thirty years, has made pathbreaking contributions in such areas as time-inconsistency, lack of credibility, stabilization, transition economies, debt maturity, capital flows, and financial crises. His work on macroeconomic issues relevant for developing countries has set the tone for much of the research in this area and greatly influenced practitioners' thinking in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. InMoney, Crises, and Transition, leading specialists in Calvo's main areas of expertise explore the themes behind this impressive body of work.

    The essays take on the issues that have fascinated Calvo most as an academic, a senior advisor at the International Monetary Fund, and as the chief economist at the Inter-American Development Bank: monetary and exchange rate policy (both in theory and practice); financial crises; debt, taxation, and reform; and transition and growth. A final section provides a behind-the-scenes look at Calvo's career and intellectual journey and includes an interview with Calvo himself.

    Contributors Leonardo Auernheimer, Fabrizio Coricelli, Padma Desai, Allan Drazen, Sebastian Edwards, Roque B. Fernández, Stanley Fischer, Ricardo Hausmann, Bostjan Jazbec, Peter Isard, Graciela L. Kaminsky, Michael Kumhof, Amartya Lahiri, Igal Magendzo, Enrique G. Mendoza, Frederic S. Mishkin, Igor Masten, Pritha Mitra, Alejandro Neut, Maurice Obstfeld, Edmund S. Phelps, Assaf Razin, Carmen M. Reinhart, Francisco Rodriguez, Efraim Sadka, Ratna Sahay, Rajesh Singh, Evan Tanner, Carlos A. Végh, Andrés Velasco, Rodrigo Wagner

    • Hardcover $16.75 £13.99