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Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish teaches courses in economics, finance and statistics at the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune. He also blogs daily at, and his mission in life is to make learning as fun as possible for as many people as possible.

Ashish has a PhD in economics from the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, and his corporate work experience includes stints with Genpact, Fidelity Investments and Suzlon.

Economics & Life Choices

My research career has been devoted to understanding human decision-making and problem-solving processes. The pursuit of this goal has led me into the fields of political science, economics, cognitive psychology, computer science and philosophy of science, among others.

Herbert Simon, Nobel Laureate in Economics


May 7-14, 2023

Economics is the study of how to get the most out of life.

But what does this mean in practice? It means understanding two things, above all else. The first is an understanding of what choices exist where each of our lives is concerned. The second is an understanding of the costs involved in making a particular choice.

In this week-long module, we will learn to study and apply economics in the course of our daily lives. We will understand how we make a particular choice out of the menu of options that we are faced with, and how that choice affects our lives in the times to come. How, for example, do we end up choosing the subjects we do when it comes to studies? What is the cost of choosing a particular field of study? What, if anything, are we maximizing when we write examinations? Can economics tell us how to go about studying better?

We will also learn to apply concepts associated with choices and costs. What is the importance of time in our lives? Playing Call of Duty seems like an excellent idea while you’re playing it, but might seventy-year-old-you wish that you’d spent that time studying instead? How should we think about this problem?

How long a horizon should we keep in mind when thinking about the impact of choices we make? Will your great great grand-daughter wish that you had walked more, and driven less? And if that sounds too far fetched, do you wish that your grandparents had purchased some shares in your name?

How should we think about the unintended consequences of our actions? How should we anticipate other people might behave, and how should we change our behaviours accordingly? What is the correct way to think about prices, and what story are these prices telling us?

This course teaches you to do two things. It teaches you to think like an economist, and it teaches you to see the world like an economist does. The worldview of an economist may not be the most romantic one around, but it does help us understand - a bit better -  why the world works the way it does.

Note: A great follow up to this course would be Data, Visualization and Statistics for Citizens and Introduction to Public Policy.

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