Leading economic institutes join hands to bridge research-policy gap

The Tata Centre for Development at the University of Chicago and the International Growth Centre at the London School of Economics collaborate to better communicate evidence-based research for informed decision-making.

Economics is crucial to addressing issues that challenge India’s ability to grow faster, sustainably, and inclusively. With the common mandate to promote growth through economic ideas, the Tata Centre for Development (TCD) at the University of Chicago and the International Growth Centre (IGC) at the London School of Economics & Political Science are formally collaborating through the economics and policy portal ‘Ideas for India (I4I). The ideologically-neutral portal is a platform for economists, other social scientists, and development practitioners to disseminate compelling research findings and share insights on effective growth policies. By encouraging evidence-based public debate, I4I aims to make insights accessible to policy stakeholders and inform policy conversations.

“Both the TCD at the University of Chicago and the IGC share the belief that evidence-based policymaking is the key to rapidly advancing living standards. This requires a virtuous circle of idea development, rigorous testing, robust communication and scale-up. This portal will strengthen a key link in this circle by facilitating critical collaborations between researchers and policymakers. We are just absolutely honoured to work with the IGC to help take the very successful I4I to the next level,” said Michael Greenstone, TCD’s faculty director, the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago and Research Programme Director for the IGC’s energy research programme.

“I4I was started as a platform for dissemination of original research on India’s economic issues generated by IGC and its network of professional economists for a non-technical audience. Over the years, it has spread its wings to include a much wider set of contributions over a more diverse set of issues. Today, it has established itself as one of the foremost portals for practically all issues relating to the Indian economy. However, at its heart still lies a focus on research-based expositions. The collaboration with TCD will no doubt lead to a significant strengthening of this focus through the involvement of the networks of TCD and the University of Chicago,” said Dr. Pronab Sen, Country Director for the India Programme, IGC.

“Unlike most areas of academic research, economics has the unique distinction that everyone wants to know what answers experts are proposing to the problems of everyday life. The promise of a sensible evidence-based policy regime lies in an informed electorate; translating and explaining the most pertinent research findings on the issues of Indian development is the mission that I4I has taken upon itself. Our efforts will be hugely strengthened through the collaboration with TCD. The value added through their expertise as well as their financial support will no doubt enhance the quality and scope of our endeavours,” said Ashok Kotwal, Editor-in-Chief, I4I.

As a part of this collaboration, TCD and IGC will communicate their research in ways that drive policy impact and make a larger audience familiar with work in development economics and social development. Both entities will jointly work towards encouraging collaboration between researchers and global, national, and local decision-makers to determine the obstacles that need to be confronted across several thematic areas, including but not limited to education, energy, environment, labour economics, public finance, water & sanitation, and urban development.

About TCD at UChicago

An affiliated centre of the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at UChicago, TCD upholds the university’s tradition of applying economic thinking to a wide range of social challenges and advancing important research on India through a convergence of scholars from across disciplines. To translate research insights into policy action, TCD engages with policymakers at all levels of government and policy entrepreneurs across sectors and launches pilot projects to demonstrate success.

About IGC

The International Growth Centre (IGC) aims to promote sustainable growth in developing countries by providing demand-led policy advice based on frontier research. The IGC directs a global network of world-leading researchers and in-country teams in Africa and South Asia and works closely with partner governments to generate high-quality research and policy advice on key growth challenges. Based at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and in partnership with the University of Oxford, the IGC is majority funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

About I4I

‘Ideas for India’ (I4I) is an economics and policy portal that seeks to inject more evidence into policy discussions on growth and development in India, and to make these discussions more accessible to a lay audience. I4I serves as an ideologically neutral space for economists, other social scientists, and practitioners to use their research and experience to weigh in on key policy questions.