Professor Padma Desai

Reviews of Her Books


Planning for Industrialization - A Study of Indian Industrialization and Trade Policies (with J. Bhagwati)

OECD Development Center,Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1970; second printing; paperback edition.


"This book remains one of the best that has been written about Indian economic development ... It is an authoritative study of

a very important and hitherto neglected problem area, and makes a contribution of lasting value. It is compulsory reading

for people with a serious interest in the economic development of India." 

South Asian Review



"An outstanding contribution to the vast literature on India's economic experience ... it has good chances of becoming a

classic in the literature not only on Indian economic development but ... in many respects ... on economic development

and industrialization as a whole."

Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv


"A masterly treatise on [the] Indian economy ... Ministers, planners, economists, students and teachers need to take a 

good hard look at the contents of this work." 

Southern Economist, Bangalore


"[the authors] treat the history of the Indian plan with much greater precision and attention to economic theory than has ever

been done before.... Nobody who wants to understand what is happening in India today can afford to be without the back≠

ground [they] provide." 

International Affairs


The Soviet Economy: Problems and Prospects

Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1987. Paperback edition, 1990.



'Amongst students of the Soviet economy, Padma Desai is noted not only for her Russian expertise but for her concern for technical rigor. This is a masterly volume.'

Abram Bergson


'Penetrating, insightful and wide‑ranging in scope, these essays should be on the bookshelf of every serious student of the Soviet economy.' 

Franklyn Holzman


'Professor Desai's book makes clear that Sovietology is ripe for advanced techniques and reasoning. The book is a brilliant example of this approach.'

H. J. Wagener, Economica


'A substantial body of work, which advances our knowledge of the growth process in a centralized economy in several directions.'

J. Michael Montias, Journal of Comparative Economics


'Combines theoretical elegance, econometric sophistication, and precise handling of empirical evidence. Many general economists will enjoy Desai's sophisticated and rigorous appraisal of the Soviet system. Policymakers will quote from her conclusions.'

Holland Hunter, The Annals of the American Academy of Polifical and Social Science


'Padma Desai is a pioneer in the application of quantitative methods to the study of the Soviet economy. Her facility with econometric techniques is supported by refreshing eagerness to draw on the work of descriptive economists and political


R. W. Davies, The Times Nigher Educational Supplement


'Particularly ingenious and innovative. The book is to be highly recommended to all students of comparative economics.'            

S. Gomulka, The Manchester School


Perestroika in Perspective: The Design and Dilemmas of Soviet Reform

Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989.Revised paperback edition, 1990.

The Indonesian and Korean translations of the book were published in 1990.



"Perestroika in Perspective is . . . accessible to the general reader, and ranges ... widely to examine political, social, and cultural

forces linked to economic change. It offers a sound ... review of Mr. Gorbachev's reform program."

Philip Taubman, The New York Times Book Review


"In this short, uncomplicated book, Desai provides in layman's terms a marvelously succinct description of what Gorbachev is attempting to do, and a sound discussion of the difficulties he faces in doing it."

Nicolai N. Petro, Orbis


"As an introduction to the subject, [Perestroika in Perspective] is a model of lucidity. . . . This book is a healthy antidote to the tendency to discuss economic reform in the USSR out of its social and political context."               

John Barber, London Review of Books


"A lively little book on perestroika. . . . Perestroika in the Soviet Union is potentially the most significant of all contemporary ventures. It is one of the. merits of this book that it makes clear not only how difficult is the starting point, but how uncertain is the goal."

Martin Wolf, Financial Times


"In a careful, lucid analysis of industrial, agricultural, co‑op and foreign trade policies, [Desai] raises reasonable doubts about [Gorbachev's] strategy. . . . Desai argues cogently that Gorbachev and his advisers are 'prisoners of a mode of [economic] thinking' that prevents them from comprehending the preconditions and functions of the capitalist market."                

Robert Sharlet, The New Leader

Going Global: Transition from Plan to Market in the World Economy, (Editor)

The MIT Press, December 1997. Second Edition in 1999. The Chinese translation of the book appeared in 1999.


"A considerable number of economies have been in the process of transition for a number of years, and their different experiences provide evidence on what works and what does not. Padma Desai's fine volume collates and assesses this evidence... The country studies will be of interest and value to specialists, and to those who seek a detailed description of the early stages of transition in particular countries. For the more general reader, however, the most interesting and rewarding chapter in the volume with be Desai's introduction, which uses the experiences reported in the country studies in an effort to draw a conclusion from the whole."

Brian Hindley,The Times Literary Supplement, January 15, 1999

Financial Crisis, Contagion, and Containment: From Asia to Argentina

Princeton University Press, June 2003.

"The best book yet about the financial crises that have swept the world in recent years. Desai offers a comprehensive, critical survey that will unsettle ideologues right and left. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the global economy."

Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics and International Affairs, Princeton University


"Padma Desai attacks head-on fundamental questions about the compatibility of small emerging country economies with inherently volatile global financial markets--questions that have too often been ignored or glossed over in the policy debate."

Paul Volcker, Former Chairman, The Federal Reserve


"Padma Desai's thorough and insightful analysis of the financial crises that have devastated many emerging market economies over the past several years is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand  the downside of the

global financial system.  Her forceful policy recommendations deserve to be considered at the highest level."

George Soros


"Padma Desaiís stimulating and path-breaking comparative analysis of the pace and sequencing of financial liberalization processes has profound implications for the planning of national policies and the structure of international financial cooperation. The book makes an outstanding contribution to our understanding of these complex issues, and to the designing of sensible proposals for rebuilding the international financial architecture."

Manmohan Singh, Former Finance Minister of India


"Professor Padma Desai has long stood as a voice for caution, pragmatism, and common sense against those who would impose untested economic models on economies in transition.  In this book, she turns her attention to the central asymmetry of the world financial system:  rich countries retain the privilege of managing their economies, while poor countries, having liberalized their financial markets prematurely, remain hostage to volatile capital flows, and when the inevitable crisis strikes, have to succumb to ill-fitting arrangements designed for them by the International Monetary Fund.  This is a book that should be read widely."

Dani Rodrik,  Rafiq Hariri Professor of International Political Economy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University


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