Professor Syed M. Ahsan of the Economics Department at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada joined the Institute of Microfinance (InM) as a Visiting Fellow on December 22, 2008. He plans to spend four months on this engagement. During his stay, Professor Ahsan, in collaboration with InM staff, will carry out a research project entitled Microinsurance, Poverty & Vulnerability.
Prior to joining Concordia University, Professor Ahsan taught at the University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario, Canada). Over his long career, he has served as a visiting professor at many universities in Bangladesh, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway and Sweden. He has also done advising/consulting work for the Asian Development Bank, UNDP, and the World Bank. During 2005-7 he served as the World Bank Resident Economic Advisor at the Central Bank of Bangladesh.
His principal areas of expertise are Agricultural Micro Insurance, Taxation and Fiscal Policy, and Poverty, Institutions and Growth. He has published extensively which include a research monograph (Agricultural Insurance, Gower/Edward Elgar, 1985) and numerous articles in reputed journals and edited volumes including the American J. of Agricultural Economics, Canadian J. of Economics, Developing Economies, Econometrica, European Economic Review, J of Finance, J of Public Economics, Oxford Economic Papers, Public Finance/Finance Publiques, Quarterly J. of Economics, Southern J. of Economics, and Zeitschrift fuer Nationaloekonomie /J of Economics.
During his stay at InM, Professor Ahsan will work both with existing household survey datasets as well as launch new surveys (to be repeated for several years subject to usual constraints) and develop feasible insurance schemes targeted at most major risks faced by rural households, namely output/income shocks, health, life and life-cum-credit risk. Promising schemes already at the pilot stage of experimentation both at home and abroad, will serve as benchmarks against which the proposed models will be evaluated for their appeal both from the perspective of the insured and the potential insurers. The role of public policy in the delivery of micro insurance products will also be an important element in this research endeavor.