Abhijit Banerjee on Job Loss & Why Ola-Uber Ain’t Causing Slowdown

The Nobel laureate suggested that job loss for a 50-year-old hurts more than a millennial.

2 min read

Video Editor: Vishal Kumar


Just a few days ahead of becoming a Nobel laureate, economist Abhijit Banerjee, speaking at the Brown University, said the Indian economy is in ‘bad shape’. In fact Banerjee’s newly-released book is titled Good Economics for Hard Times, where he along with co-author Esther Duflo, attempts to offer a solution for the same.

The Quint, in an interaction with Banerjee, picked his mind on how the slowdown in the economy bodes for the Indian millennial.

When asked how a young professional should deal with the looming prospect of a job loss, he said while it would be “insensitive” to say that the situation is great, it is still a better scenario for somebody who is at the beginning of her career, as compared to a “50-year old”.

“I think one advantage of being young is that many of you have parents and other older family members who will support you. So it’s a great time to learn new skills. It’s a great time to think about how the economy will be the next time it recovers. It’s a good time to be pro-active in fixing your eyes on something different,” he said.

Banerjee further said that a part of the problem is also the fact that people’s expectations of a “reasonable standard of living” have moved up radically.

“Growing up in the 70s... if you were young and you thought you wanted a job, you started by being extremely pessimistic. There were no jobs. People would sit around for three years, four years. It was kind of frightening. People were kind of used to the fact that they would take several years to get a job,” he said, recalling his young days in the erstwhile Calcutta.


The Nobel prize winner also refused to buy Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s recent assertion that the slowdown in automobile sector can be attributed to the fact that millennials are opting for ‘Ola and Uber’, instead of buying their own vehicles.

“In India it’s only when you are in the late twenties or early thirties that people are getting to the point when they can buy cars, unless you have rich parents. So, I am not sure that in any case, people in their early twenties were never buying so many cars,” he said.

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