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'Classical economists' SOP for Graduate admission Msc Economics

Riddi 7 / 16  
Dec 23, 2011   #1
Describe your academic interests and reasons for applying. Detail your career objectives and any relevant non-academic achievements as well as any publications. Outline any other relevant experience including attendance at specialist workshops or short courses. This is the prompt for the essay.

The objective economic condition and the government policies in a nation work in hand in hand to decide the fate of economic development of a nation. At the base of economic development lies an ever going debate regarding the appropriate role of state in economy. Classical economist believed in individual property rights and encouraged the growth of private capital which subsequently shaped the industrial revolution in the west. Later, with the rise of capitalism rose concerns regarding the consequences of market-based approach to development. Much of these concerns were centred on the inequalities of income and wealth. Karl Marx believed the solution to these challenges was not a market-based approach rather communist one, in which the needs of community dominated over individual. Marxist line of thought influenced the development economics and provided grounds for structuralist and dependency theories.

When the colonised nations were gaining independence post world war second, there was a growing concern of their rapid economic growth to level the already developed nations. During this time, the rapid economic growth of former Soviet Russia through the total state ownership of capital influenced the policy makers in the new nations. The planned allocation of resources which favoured investment over consumption led many policy makers and economists to conclude that, particularly in the context of poor nations, planning was essential for the efficient allocation of an economy's resources. The same perspective shaped the economic policies in India, which resulted into socialism in the country leading to corrupt inefficient monopoly markets in almost all sectors of economy. The worst affected were the poor. Even post liberalisation policies, traditional perspective of market scepticism pervaded many sectors of economy. For instance, the market serving the poor at the bottom of pyramid continues to be over-regulated and the entry of private players is still obscure. The reason of this is not just the general consensus among the policy makers that private sector cannot contribute towards poverty reduction, but also the unattractiveness of these markets to private players. This traditional approach of justifiable wealth distribution is now undergoing a paradigm shift to wealth creation and is focussing at capacity building for poor at the micro-level; to escape poverty through self-sustaining market based solutions.

After my first year at college, I interned with a non-governmental organisation (NGO) Mansha Manav Kalyan Samsthan working in building farmers' network in Basnwara district of Rajasthan, as per the guidelines of National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (NABARD)'s farmers' club programme. These farmers' club work not only as a link between the bank and farmers for microcredit loans, but also serve as a forum for creating awareness regarding the latest agricultural techniques and capacity building in rural villages. My interest quickly rose when I witnessed the changes first hand which challenged my initial doubts rooting from the failure of subsidized credit facilities of government through Integrated Rural Development Program (IRDP). The subsidized credit through IRDP did not only fail to target right people, but also diminished the incentives of the banks to collect saving deposits as a result of which poor were left with unattractive and inefficient ways to save. Today, a large number of private microfinance institutions along with non-governmental organisations work to provide microfinance services for the poor to let them escape poverty. Microfinance has shown a way to unlock the unorganised, unattained and monopoly governed markets at the bottom of the pyramid to make profit as well as development. The market at this level holds immense potential and the key for the future growth. This makes it pertinent that we broaden the scope of our knowledge to understand ways to penetrate this market.

Education is another sector which failed to get deregulated post liberalisation and has largely remained unexplored by the private sector. The presence of private players has remained restricted to the rich urban locales. The poorer section (both urban and rural) is either devoid of 'any' type of educational institution or is served through state-run schools which are rampant with high teacher absentee ratios, poor infrastructure, lower quality education and accountability. At present, the poor suffer due to lack of options for them in the educational market of the country. Private sector on the other hand remains wary of entering these markets as they see no profits through them. There is therefore a need to develop new models to fill the gap between supply and demand of quality education by creating sustainable incentives for private sector to entail choices for the poor. While interning for Centre for Civil Society (CCS), New Delhi-a policy think tank as a research extern, I came across their school choice campaign based on education vouchers-propagated by Milton Friedman. The programme focuses on funding the students rather the school, thereby ensuring choice to the students and thus competition in the education market. Choice creation in the market can work to enforce better accountability and can show improvement in the quality of education served through market competition at lower rates. Different public private partnership (PPP) models are emerging today; I believe it is important to understand the conditions in which each model has emerged successful to apply it in other areas.

At CCS, I worked on a paper paper titled as "Management of Parking Spaces in Walled City, Jaipur-A case study of Bapu Bazaar and Jauhari Bazaar." I did an extensive research to understand the existing parking problems, its reasons and management in the walled city. Through this paper I tried to explore the viability of an efficient price mechanism and management practices to address the current and future policy prescriptions in this field. Recently, my paper has also been accepted in a journal called 'Nucleus-An Interdisciplinary Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences (ISSN-0972-7523) and would be published in its forthcoming edition. Presently, I am assisting Professor Alpana Kateja , University of Rajasthan, on a paper on health inequities in India and factors affecting it.

In future, I am keen to engage myself in developing more self-sustaining market based solutions for poverty alleviation and other sectors of economy in developing countries at the microeconomic level. To succeed in this endeavour, I want to improve my understanding of how markets, institutions and states interact together and create sustainable economic models. With regard to this, I would like to start by improving my knowledge on what I have already learned through my work experiences and would therefore like to build on my knowledge on microfinance and other issues related to microeconomic policy to better understand and analyse the opportunities available in this field. I believe a year spent at UCL under Lecturer Beatriz Armendariz who has an expertise in the field of economic development and has conducted extensive research in micro-finance in Latin America with a number of articles and books on her credit, for instance "The Economics of Microfinance" can assist me in my goal. Besides, studying at UCL, I can take advantage of its expertise in microeconomic policy with research centres such as Evaluation of Development Policy and Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy.

I treasure my academic learning so far as it has helped me grow as a well rounded person. Besides being an academic achiever and a university topper in my current undergraduate study, I have been actively involved in entrepreneurial and voluntary activities. My friends and I have been successful in coming out with an independent newsletter 'Aakaar' and spreading its circulation to five colleges in the city. I was also associated with NGO Udaan which worked towards value creation among the youth going through image-crisis. During my school time I was the only one who received Sahara National Cadet Corp scholarship for being an all rounder. Besides this, I have played handball at zonal and national level for my school and have been a winner at many sports meets.

I know it's quite long but would be really grateful, if one can go through the entire essay to give me feedback regarding the flow and relevance of the essay and also help me edit it!

Riddi! :)
cupnoodle123 15 / 52  
Dec 23, 2011   #2
Whoa, is there a word limit for your essay...?

Just note: at about 650 wds, a college essay usually loses the reader

- The first paragraph is superfluous, you don't relate it back to yourself at all, so basically its just an info paragraph, which doesn't suit the prompt: I suggest you cut it out or integrate parts of that to ideas that show who you are/your opinions/your reactions

- Same wit the 2nd paragraph: do not write a research paper!! if colleges want, they can look it up on google and stuff...use every sentence and paragraph to answer the prompt, stick to it

- Much of your essay is just info...it doesn't show who you are except that you happen to know a lot a lot of knowledge about stuff, But that doesn't show your applying that knowledge to understanding and what prompt asks for

Hope this helps. Please, Please look at my essays too!! Especially my "Elderly + Church" common app essay, below. Thanks, I'd appreciate it a lot:)
OP Riddi 7 / 16  
Dec 24, 2011   #3
Hey thanks a lot for responding to it! I agree quite a lot to what you have said about my essay and I am reworking on those parts! Thanks again btw!


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