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...I first started reading about behavioural sciences about a decade ago. Research done by Israeli-born psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky on cognitive biases and bounded rationality was unique and pathbreaking. Kahneman had won the Nobel prize in 2002 for their seminal work on Prospect Theory (Tversky had died in 1996 and the Nobel prize is not awarded posthumously). As an investor in the stock markets, behavioural economics helped in providing a theoretical framework to some of the intuitive concepts I had learnt, often the hard way by losing money! Kahneman and Tversky provided an empirically tested body of research to understand human shortcomings while making choices. Investing by its very nature involves taking decisions with incomplete information and making assumptions about the future. Naturally, my motive was to improve the strike rate of making better decisions while investing. ...Live Mint on Oct. 26, 2017, 12:14 a.m.
...Analysts continue to evaluate the political implications of this unprecedented move, using every election, no matter how small or large, as a quasi-referendum on demonetisation. However, in this context it is interesting to consider an alternative view posed by political scientist Gabriel Lenz in his landmark book Follow The Leader? . The author says that voters don’t choose between politicians based on policy stances, rather, voters appear to adopt the policies that their favourite politicians prefer. Fareed Zakaria, who also quotes Lenz in his recent essay, says that gut decision and emotional appeal often trump rational analysis in the choice of the favoured political leader. Moreover, voters seem to follow rather blindly, adopting a particular politician’s specific policies even if they know little or nothing of that politician’s overall ideology. ...Live Mint on March 15, 2017, 12:12 a.m.
...Yes, there is a flurry of reports on what the coming year is going to look like and strategies to navigate it but this time can be better spent thinking about what the markets taught us in the year gone by. To quote from Thomas Friedman’s latest book: “The ancients believed that there was wisdom in patience and that wisdom comes from patience. Patience wasn’t just absence of speed. It was space for reflection and thought.” In that spirit of look-back, here are 10 things that we learnt (sometimes the hard way) from our teacher. To be fair, some of them are eternal truths, but forgetful pupils that we are, oftentimes we need to be reminded. 1. The nadir for pollsters The most conspicuous casualties of this year were pollsters who failed to predict the two big binary events—Brexit and the outcome of the US presidential election. ...Live Mint on Dec. 25, 2016, 10:59 p.m.
...A Buddha painting serenely smiled back at us from where we had expected to find a new television. The hosts told us that they did not watch TV at all and got all their entertainment online, on-demand. Though we had encountered many people who told us they didn’t watch TV, we used to dismiss them as snobs or as people with selective amnesia. But this incident got us thinking about two questions—if many people we know hardly watch TV, what do they do for entertainment? Second, who watches TV? Recently, there has been a change in the audience measurement metrics for television viewing. The newly formed agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) has expanded its coverage from 60 million earlier to over 150 million households. ...Live Mint on Nov. 9, 2016, 2:38 a.m.
...As we sat to ideate on the next topic for our essay, we noticed that we haven’t discussed the economy for some time.After all, it may not be an exaggeration to say that much of the recent discussion in the media around the economy, of late, has centred largely on the personalities of the outgoing and incoming governors of the Reserve Bank of India.While many seem to have given up on forecasting the elusive inflection point, a closer look at some of the recent trends in the economy seems to be quite encouraging.Consumer price inflation has come down to a 5% handle, led by softer food inflation.A decent monsoon, accompanied by higher sowing acreage, has aided the benign trend in food prices.Current account will likely be in surplus for the June 2016 quarter, albeit led by lower gold imports.Foreign inflows have been encouraging, including foreign direct investment (FDI). ...Live Mint on Sept. 20, 2016, 10:47 p.m.