Department of Social & Policy Sciences

Professor Kaushik Basu - Honorary Degree, Public Lecture and Workshop

Tue Nov 15 10:48:00 GMT 2016

In a specially organized event on 9 November 2016, Professor Kaushik Basu was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, as part of the University’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

Professor Kaushik Basu, speaking after receiving his honorary degree from the Vice-Chancellor, with Professor Jane Millar

Professor Kaushik Basu, speaking after receiving his honorary degree from the Vice-Chancellor, with Professor Jane Millar pictured right.


He is the C. Marks Professor of International Studies and Professor of Economics at Cornell University, USA. Professor Basu was the Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President at the World Bank until October 2016. In her oration, Professor Jane Millar pointed out how Professor Basu has combined a distinguished academic career at the highest levels with being ‘an economist in the real world’.

In his acceptance speech, Professor Basu commented on the current global political and economic scenario and reminded the university fraternity that when politics gets nasty and economic policy challenges get big, the university acquires a responsibility. It is the one institution meant to remind us of our deeper, more-humane responsibilities and to urge us to do creative, innovative work to find new policies and new cures for the world’s big challenges. He highlighted the importance of setting normative goals and the strategy of using positive analysis in their perusal. He was instrumental in the World Bank’s adoption of the recently adopted twin goals: the end of extreme poverty in the world by 2030 and the promotion of shared prosperity in all societies at all times.

Professor Kaushik Basu delivering his lecture.

Professor Kaushik Basu delivering his lecture.


Following the conferment ceremony, Professor Basu delivered a lecture on ‘Shared Prosperity and the Need for a Visible Hand’. As pointed out by Dr Ajit Mishra in his introduction, since the very beginning Professor Basu’s work has been marked by deceptive simplicity and utmost social relevance. Shared Prosperity is yet another example of a simple but highly relevant construct, which relates to a range of social problems in the current global economic climate. Professor Basu explained the notion of shared prosperity which refers to the growth in the average income of the bottom 40% of the population in any society and illustrated how income growth of this bottom section has fallen behind the average income growth of economy. It is in this context that he emphasised the need for policy interventions by national governments and other similar organisations.

Prior to the evening ceremony and lecture, academics from Bath and several other universities attended a workshop on Shared Prosperity and Inequality, organised by Dr Ajit Mishra and Dr Susan Johnson. The workshop dealt with various aspects of shared prosperity, with presentations and discussions by Professor Peter Lanjouw (Amsterdam), Professor Kunal Sen (Manchester), Ms Judith Randel (Development Initiatives), Professor James Copestake (Bath), Dr Laurence Roope (Oxford), Professor Shasi Nandeibam (Bath) and Dr Joshy Easaw (Cardiff).