Lahore School of Economics

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Lahore School of Economics Hosts IMF Director for Student Roundtable

IMF Director for Middle East and Central Asia, Mr. Masood Ahmed, held a roundtable discussion with a group of students from local universities to discuss the IMF and its program in Pakistan. Students from the Lahore School of Economics, the Lahore College for Women University, the Lahore University of Management Sciences, Beaconhouse National University and Forman Christian College University attended the roundtable discussion to share their views with the visiting IMF team. The roundtable was chaired by Mr. Ahmed, Dr. Shahid Amjad Chaudhry, Rector of the Lahore School of Economics and Dr. Azam Chaudhry, Dean Faculty of Economics, Lahore School of Economics.


Dr. Shahid Amjad Chaudhry, Rector of the Lahore School of Economics welcomed Mr. Masood Ahmed, the IMF Director of the Middle East and Central Asia region, Mr. Herald Finger, the IMF Pakistan Mission Chief and Mr. Tokhir Mirzoev, the IMF Resident Representative for Pakistan. Dr. Chaudhry discussed the macroeconomic situation prevailing in Pakistan at the time when Pakistan entered the IMF program as well as the prevailing macroeconomic challenges faced by the country.


Mr. Masood Ahmed began by discussing the history and role of the IMF in the global economy and explained how the IMF assists countries in terms of technical assistance, macroeconomic advice and lending in case of macroeconomic crises. Mr. Ahmed then explained how the balance of payments problem that Pakistan faced in 2013 led to a significant reduction in its foreign exchange reserves which in turn led the Pakistani government to ask the IMF for assistance. Finally, Mr. Ahmed explained how the IMF was different from other international agencies like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank because these other institutions focus on development assistance with lending for specific projects and initiatives while the IMF focuses on macroeconomic stabilization with a specific emphasis on fiscal deficits and exchange rate adjustments.


This introduction was followed by a series of questions regarding the role of the IMF in Pakistan. Many students asked Mr. Ahmed why the IMF insisted on significant reductions in expenditures which mostly led to significant reductions in development expenditures that could impact long term growth. At the same time other students asked why the IMF insisted on increasing tax revenues which in many cases led the government to adopt taxes that many considered regressive. Mr. Ahmed explained that one of the major issues facing developing countries like Pakistan is that countries spend far more money than they collect and this leads to macroeconomic problems. He then went on to explain that the IMF has recognized that governments tend to slash development expenditures immediately which means that there are significant reductions in spending for critical sectors like health and education. For this reason, the IMF now includes in its program a requirement that governments maintain a certain level of spending in critical social sectors. Mr. Ahmed also explained that the IMF does not get involved in determining specific taxes but is more concerned with the overall objective of macroeconomic stabilization.


Another set of questions by the students focused on why Pakistan constantly kept reentering IMF programs but failed to complete any programs. Mr. Ahmed explained that these two issues were closely interlinked: Pakistan has some basic structural problems which become severe every few years and requires IMF assistance, but after a year or two of the IMF program the Pakistan government feels that the crisis has passed so they do not continue to take measures to address these issues. This has led to a cycle in which the Pakistan government asks for IMF assistance, stabilizes the economy, and then stops following IMF advice for long term reform which then leads to the same crisis reoccurring after a few years.

Finally, the students asked Mr. Ahmed’s views on the energy crisis facing Pakistan as well as the impact of falling oil prices on oil exporting countries (like those in the Gulf, or Nigeria an Venezuela) and oil importing countries like Pakistan. Mr. Ahmed says that the energy crisis in Pakistan is a significant issue facing policymakers as well those interested in macroeconomic stabilization and long-term growth and that the significant fall in oil prices has been handled differently by developing countries. Some countries like Pakistan have decided to pass on a portion of the fall in oil prices to the final purchasers, while others like India have kept the final prices of fuel the same by increasing the taxes on these products in order to shore by their domestic revenues. Mr. Ahmed also discussed how the significant decline in oil prices has had a major impact on the economies that are heavily reliant on oil and he also discussed the balance of payments impact of falling oil prices on countries like Pakistan.


Mr. Ahmed then ended the roundtable discussion by thanking Dr. Shahid Amjad Chaudhry, Dr. Azam Chaudhry, the student participants from various universities and the Lahore School of Economics for hosting this event. He told the audience that it was important for economists and macroeconomic policy makers to interact with students to understand the issues that were important to them and to society and to discuss long term economic strategies in order to develop inclusive policies that are understood and lead to long term growth.

Previous: International Financial Crisis and the Role of IMF: The View from Pakistan's Youth

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 3/06/2015 02:39:00 PM,

The West and the Rest in the World Economy: The Next Transformation

As part of the Distinguished Economist Seminar Series, the Lahore School Economics Society (LSES) organized a seminar on February 26, 2015. The guest speaker was a renowned Indian economist Dr. Deepak Nayyar who talked about “The West and the Rest in the World Economy: The Next Transformation” based on his recent book ‘Catch Up: Developing Countries in the World Economy’. The seminar was chaired by the patron LSES, Dr. Waqar Wadho and was attended by distinguished professors and economists including Dr. Shahid Amjad Chaudhry (Rector, Lahore School of Economics), Dr. Rashid Amjad (Director the Graduate Institute of Development Studies (GIDS)), Dr. Azam Chaudhry (Dean, Department of Economics, Lahore School of Economics), Dr. Naved Hamid (Director, Center for Research in Economics and Business) and Dr. Irfan-ul-Haque (Special Advisor for Financing for Development, South Centre, Geneva), faculty members of Lahore School and a large number of both graduate and undergraduate students of Lahore School.


Dr. Deepak in his talk provided a comprehensive overview of the evolution of developing countries in the world economy, situated in a long term historical perspective, from the onset of the second millennium but with a focus on the second half of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first century. He highlighted the overwhelming significance of what are now developing countries in the world until 200 years ago to trace their decline and fall from 1820 to 1950. Dr. Deepak emphasized that there is no single formula for growth and different sets of policies seem to have worked well in different settings, but economies relying on market as driving force have minimized market failures and those relying on government as central have minimized government failures. Also, growth has often not been transformed into meaningful development that improves the wellbeing of people. However, he optimistically asserted that the beginnings of a shift in the balance of power in the world economy are discernible and developing countries can sustain this rise only if they can transform themselves into inclusive societies where economic growth, human development and social progress move in tandem.


The seminar was followed by a discussion session with the faculty and students which was moderated by Dr. Shahid Chaudhry himself. The seminar concluded with a brief speech by Dr. Shahid who welcomed the visit of such highly distinguished economists like Dr. Deepak Nayyar from India stating that such academic visits could provide opportunities for collaboration between India and Pakistan both in the academic and research front.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 2/28/2015 11:40:00 AM,

Perspicacia Case Competition

Lahore School of Economics MBA students won the LUMS Synergies 2015 Perspicacia Case Competition held on February 20-22, 2015.


Imran Sajjad (Sec B), Farhan Duraiz (Section B), Hamza Wasim (Section C), Saad Khalid (Section C) and Ameer Ismaiel (Section C) participated in the competition.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 2/27/2015 10:20:00 AM,

Regulatory framework that exists in the Pakistani power sector

Dr. Takuya Nakaizumi, Professor of Kanto-Gakuin University Japan and member of Commission of Administrative Evaluation Bureaus of Ministry of Internal Affair and Communication Japan presented a lecture to the students and faculty at the Center for Research in Economics and Business (CREB), Lahore School of Economics on February 24, 2015.


Dr. Nakaizumi is a JICA technical expert on Regulatory Reform and Regulatory Impact Analysis at the Economic Reforms Unit (ERU), Ministry of Finance Pakistan and his expertise is in the areas of Applied Game theory, especially Economics of Regulation and Industrial Organization and Contract Theory.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 2/25/2015 03:32:00 PM,

Re-igniting economic growth in Pakistan

As part of the Distinguished Economist Seminar Series, the Lahore School Economics Society (LSES) organized its first seminar on February 18, 2015. The guest speaker was a renowned Pakistani economist Dr. Rashid Amjad who talked about “Re-igniting economic growth in Pakistan”. The seminar was chaired by the patron LSES, Dr. Waqar Wadho and was attended by distinguished professors and economists including Dr. Shahid Amjad Chaudhry (Rector, Lahore School of Economics), Dr. Azam Chaudhry (Dean, Department of Economics, Lahore School of Economics), Dr. Sohail Zafar, (Dean, Department of Business Administration), Dr. Naved Hamid (Director, Center for Research in Economics and Business) and Dr. Irfan-ul-Haque (Special Advisor for Financing for Development, South Centre, Geneva), Dr. Shakil Faruqi (Professor, Lahore School of Economics), faculty members of Lahore School and a large number of both graduate and undergraduate students of Lahore School.


Given his expertise on the management of Pakistan economy, Dr Rashid focused this seminar on the issue of economic growth in Pakistan. He started off the analysis by providing a very comprehensive overview of the performance of Pakistan economy in the past decades and highlighted the need to focus on the ‘binding constraints’ that hamper growth. He argued that foreign exchange has been a binding constraint for decades. In recent years, due to inadequate focus on energy, today, the most important constraint that the Pakistan economy faces is the energy shortage and therefore, the government should target this as its highest priority. He suggested that the falling oil prices present a window of opportunity which should be exploited to alleviate the existing constraints. In his concluding remarks, Dr. Rashid advised the young economics students to focus on the underlying theory and fundamentals of economic policy-making along with thinking out-of-the-box so that more creative yet pragmatic solutions to the existing economic problems can be suggested.


The seminar was followed by a discussion session with students where students posed their questions and opinions. Overall the seminar proved to be an engaging event whereby both the students and leading economists got an opportunity to interact and discuss the current economic issues of Pakistan. The LSES aims to continue with its seminar series and hopes to further invite economists both from within and outside Pakistan to enlighten young minds with their experience. The next seminar is scheduled on February 26, 2015 where the guest speaker is Dr. Deepak Nayyar (Professor Emeritus, JNU New Delhi and former Vice-Chancellor Delhi University).
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 2/24/2015 12:41:00 PM,

Advertisement and Digital Media

The Marketing Society of the Lahore School invited Mr. Adeel Hashmi and Mr. Daud Randle to talk to the students about Advertisement and Digital Media on 13 February 2015. A large number of students both MBA and undergraduates welcomed the guests and listened to them with attention.


Adeel Hashmi, a famous Pakistani television actor, social worker, producer and screen writer, and brand ambassador for Ufone, spoke for about 70 minutes and won over the audience with his natural style of speaking and his sparkling wit and sense of humor. He advised the audience to also be mindful about the negative aspects of advertising as some ads promoted wasteful expenditure. He also urged the students not to allow their egos expand too much and gave examples of world class talented people who carried on with their lives in a modest manner.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 2/21/2015 02:47:00 PM,

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