Joseph Stiglitz

Joseph Stiglitz, interviewed in this issue, is Professor of Economics, Business and International Affairs at Columbia University. In 1979 he was the winner of the prestigious John Bates Clark Medal from the American Economic Association, an award given to the most distinguished economist under the age of forty. From 1993–97 Professor Stiglitz was a member of the US President’s Council of Economic Advisors, becoming Chair of the CEA in June, 1995. From February 1997 until his resignation in November 1999, he was Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at the World Bank. He is best known for his pioneering work on the impact of costly and imperfect information on the functioning of markets and has applied this insight to a wide range of issues. In addition to his numerous published papers, Professor Stiglitz is also the author and editor of several books, most recently Frontiers of Development Economics: The Future in Perspective (co-edited with G.M. Meier, World Bank, Oxford University Press, 2001), and Rethinking the East Asian Miracle (co-edited with S. Yusuf, World Bank, Oxford University Press, 2001).

Papers Published in World Economics:

Taking Stock of Microfinance

This paper explores the current global turmoil in microfinance in the context of the problems that have arisen at SKS Microfinance in India. The authors argue that the roots of the current crisis lay in the attempt to scale-up the original “Grameen” model of microfinance set up in Bangladesh I order to establish profit-seeking bodies which have neglected the core value of trust underlying successful initiatives. Unfortunately, corrective steps may exacerbate existing problems. The founders of microfinance may have overestimated the impact of microfinance in abolishing poverty, but the hasty regulation that has been imposed to address some of the setbacks experienced in India, may only undermine further trust between borrowers and lenders. Undoubtedly, microfinance institutions have has an impact on economic exclusion, social change and on community building, but future growth in the sector may require a reversion to its original not for profit foundation.

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Redefining the Role of the State
Author: An interview with introduction by Brian Snowdon

An interview with introduction by Brian Snowdon
Professor Joseph Stiglitz is without question one of the world’s leading economists. In his extensive research he has made seminal contributions to the analysis of the economic consequences of incomplete information and uncertainty. This work has greatly enhanced economists’ understanding of the welfare properties of markets and the sources of market failure. His research has also contributed to the development of better microeconomic foundations for Keynesian macroeconomic models. Most recently Professor Stiglitz has been heavily involved in controversial public policy debates relating to the East Asian crisis, problems of transition from communism to capitalism, the limitations of the ‘Washington consensus’, and globalisation and development. A common theme in all of these debates relates to the role of government and legitimate borders of the state in both developed and developing economies. In this article/interview Professor Stiglitz gives his views on these and several other important global issues.

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