Town Hall with Sir Dave Ramsden

Town Hall with Sir Dave Ramsden


Meghnad Desai Academy of Economics had the honour of hosting Sir Dave Ramsden, Chief Economic Advisor to Her Majesty’s Treasury.  He addressed a full house audience which included eminent investment bankers, chief economists to corporate companies, educationists, professors, policy experts and students.


Sir Ramsden addressing the students


Sir Ramsden with MDAE students and administrators

The Theme of the session was “Working as a Government Economist”.  Sir David Ramsden had the audience in rapt attention with his intricate and detailed analysis on the nuances of working as a government economist.  The session began by a reference being made to economist Stanley Fischer’s talk at Harvard University – “Why Study Economics”. This mention would form the basis of the entire session. Sir Dave Ramsden studied economics and continued working as an economist because of his teachers at school and universities.

Working in the British Economic Service as a civil servant you are required to adhere to a four code law:

  1. Integrity
  2. Objectivity
  3. Honesty
  4. Partiality

There was particular highlight on the job of a civil servant- Which required him/her to provide professional advice on policy and economic matters but eventually leaving the decision- making to the honourable ministers.  He specifically had the privilege to work with four ministers.  This made him realize that to work in the government continuity was important. A few must reads according to him are “Why Nations Fail” by Darren Acemoglu and “Economic Rules” by Danny Rodrick.

In order to succeed as a Government Economist – The 3 R’s success formula was necessary for implementation:

  1. Rigour in Analysis
  2. Relevant to policy
  3. Respected by all stakeholders and party holders

He praised Dr. Raghuram Rajan’s work as the former RBI Governor and Mr Arvind Subramanian’s work as the current Chief Economic Advisor to the Indian Government.  

The latter part of the session dwelled on the alliance of India and U.K. based on opportunities and challenges they face together.

Opportunities for India and the U.K.

  1. Globalization: To promote trade between India and U.K. through open free markets.
  2. Macroeconomic Policy: Fiscal Policy would be a very important aspect for India and the U.K.
  3. Infrastructure:  Building infrastructure between India and U.K. through Benefit Cost Analysis and Project Appraisal.

Challenges for India and the U.K.

  1. Diversity of Approach: India and U.K need to increase the women to men ration in all fields especially the Indian Economic Service and British Economic Service.  He extended an invitation for Indian Economic Service Civil Servants to come and work in the British Economic Service and vice versa.
  2. Diversity of Evidence: Economists in both governments need to work and collaborate with renowned economists across the globe. He mentioned he had the opportunity to work with eminent economists like Dr. Amartya Sen and Charlie Bean.
  3. Diversity of Experience: He explicitly mentioned that government economists must have diversity in their experience. They must have experience of working in the private sector as well as working overseas.

Finally the remarkable session was concluded with a touch on values, as an economist you must work with a sense of optimism and show humility, the latter being a necessary value for economists.

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Date(s) - 08/10/2016
2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

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