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Economics of P N Mathur

Toseef Azid Dipak Ghosh THE death in March of 1993 of P N Mathur has deprived the economic profession of one of its most distinguished members. During his career he published over a hundred papers, many of them substantial, pioneering contributions in various areas of economics. All of his works are original and the beauty of his work is that what he developed theoretically he proved empirically, in fact he was proud of this fact. In what follows, we have tried to provide a very short survey of Mathur's work, concentrated mainly on his more recent works. It will be a mistake, bordering on a criminal one, to judge the enormous talent and originality of Mathur on the basis of theses few pages. We have tried to provide a glimpse of his work with the sincere hope that researchers and students of the future will invest in Mathur's work knowing that the rate of return can only be substantial Now that the world has discovered that the ruling emperor, in the shape of the neo classical economics, has no cloth, it will be truly rewarding to discover a paradigm with the flavour of Ricardo, Marx, Schumpeter, Naoroji, Keynes, Leontief and the likes, but always distinct and original What makes Mathur's works rewarding is their relevance to real world which grew from his understanding of human nature. He started his work in economics by going round the villages in India collecting data from the common people and his works show this debt, Areas of Contribution Development and Agricultural Economics; Mathur conducted a study of terms of trade of agriculturists in a developing country, India, and developed the Mathur-Esekiel hypothesis of conditions when agricultural supply curve is backward bending. This is the main building block of his contribution to analysis of nature and cure of inflation in a country like India. He also studied direct and indirect socio-economic effects of technological transformation of agricul- lure including the increase in dairy output as a result of replacement of bullock labour by tractor. He studied the limits set to development by various constraints specifically, the availability of agricultural output and the socio-economic disturbances of transgressing these limits. He developed a comprehensive model for forecasting and development planning. This is a linear programming cum input- output model for delineating transformation of a developing economy into a developed one. He also developed an inter regional dynamic model of trade to asses the requirements for assured balanced development of various regions. This led to his dynamic theory of comparative costs, which states that comparative costs crucially depend on the rate of growth of various regions. In this context, he extended Myrdal's analysis of backwash effect on outlying regions to the relations of developing and developed countries. His development of generalised Leontief Strout gravity coefficients was then used to take account of size effects of different regions/ countries and was used to derive quantitative implications of interregional cooperation. He helped to explain Leontief paradox of international trade in terms of dynamic gains from trade.
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