Placement: PhD Economics, LSE

When Ananya Kotia was 16 and living in Delhi, the Indian economy took off. With it went his interest in economics.

“My impression of the Indian economy at the time was largely shaped by the discourse around development and poverty alleviation” Kotia said. “Suddenly, I discovered macroeconomics and finance.”

That interest has taken Kotia from Cambridge and Oxford universities to the International Monetary Fund, India’s Ministry of Finance, and, now, EPIC.

Kotia worked for EPIC director Michael Greenstone on a variety of environmental and energy economics projects, such as determining the effectiveness of marine sanctuaries around the world and estimating the demand of grid and solar electricity in Bihar, one of India’s poorest states. Greenstone’s focus on India and China on a diverse range of issues caught Kotia’s attention.

“His focus on energy and environment policy in India and China is somewhat unique” Kotia said of Greenstone. “My primary motivation is to use economics to answer interesting questions about India, whether social or political or economic,” he said.

Kotia, who was born in Jaipur, the capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan, earned his bachelor’s in economics at Delhi and Cambridge universities and an MPhil in economics from Oxford.

He moved around India with his family a lot growing up because of his father, a career civil servant. Inspired to follow in his father’s footsteps, Kotia then returned home to Delhi (he had spent the most time there, nine years, of any part of India) for a job with the Ministry of Finance. There he worked on fiscal rules for eight months, and then for the chief economic adviser on the annual Economic Survey.

After seeing the execution of economic policy through the government from close quarters, Kotia was ready to return to academia and joined EPIC in September 2017.

“While I had never worked on environmental economics before,” he said, “the approach of using quasi-experimental econometrics to answer policy questions was familiar, and it is exciting to be a part of the process with [Professor Greenstone] of extending this rigorous approach to questions regarding energy and the environment.”