Professor Amitrajeet A. Batabyal, who holds the Arthur J. Gosnell Professorship of Economics at the Rochester Institute of Technology, USA, delivered a lecture at the School of Economics on July 26, 2023. The topic of his talk was “Centralized versus Decentralized Cleanup of River Water Pollution: An Application to the Ganges.” Dr. Prajna Paramita Mishra, an Associate Professor, chaired the session, which was attended by faculty members, scholars, and MA students of the school. Prof Amit is also the executive committee member of the Association of Indian Economic and Financial Studies (AIEFS), a 44-year-old organization of economists that provides a platform for research on India.

During his lecture, Professor Amit focused on using mathematical models to explore the effectiveness of centralized and decentralized approaches to clean up the Ganges River water pollution. The central question he raised was when it would be more suitable to implement centralized cleanup and when a decentralized approach would be more appropriate. A key aspect highlighted in the talk was the significance of spillovers in making this determination.

Professor Amit provided insights from his model, demonstrating that if two cities exhibit the same preferences for pollution cleanup, centralization is preferable to decentralization, especially when there are spillover effects from cleaning Ganges pollution. However, if two cities have different preferences for pollution cleanup, centralization remains favorable to decentralization as long as the spillover exceeds a critical threshold.

After the lecture, there was a question-and-answer session where faculty members, PhD scholars, and MA Economics students actively participated, seeking clarifications on the model, its rationale, and the results presented. Professor Amit also used this opportunity to illustrate the intricacies of mathematical modelling when applied to complex economic realities, such as the cleanup of Ganges water pollution. Prof. Alok Mishra, Associate Director, International Affairs, proposed a vote of thanks.