Prof Sarmistha Pal
Sarmistha Pal is a Professor of Financial Economics at the University of Surrey, Guildford (UK). Previously, she had taught Economics at the University of Wales at Aberystwyth and Cardiff and subsequently at the Brunel University in London.
She is an applied economist working on issues pertaining to both economics and finance. Her primary research interests relate to analysing the impact of law, institutions and public policy on various economic agents (individual/household, firms/banks, community etc.) using large data-sets and natural experimental framework for identification. Her current and recent research in Finance explores the role of networking on firm financing in corrupt host environment, role of various corporate governance reforms including transparency and disclosure laws on firm financing, firm performance and industrial accidents, effects of land reforms on corporate investment. Her current research in Economics includes work on public and private schools, regulation and moonlighting of dual health practitioners, women friendly hospital environment and child mortality, effects of social and religious norms on public good provision, effects of old age pensions on elderly co-residency arrangements, effects of fiscal decentralisation on political transition and local development. Her research has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), Leverhulme Trust, World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Finance Corporation and the University Global Partnership Network (UGPN).
She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Development Studies (ABS 3*).
She is an external examiner for the UG Microeconomics modules for the Economics Department at the City University London.
She is a member of ESRC peer review college and as such regularly referees grant and fellowship applications submitted to ESRC. She has also reviewed applications submitted to Nuffield Foundation, Leverhulme Trust and National Science Foundation (US).
She regularly does research consultancy for various national (Home Office, Department of Foreign and International Development (DFID), Department of Business, Innovations and Skills, UK) and international (World Institute of Development Economics Research (WIDER), World Bank (WB), UNESCO and the International Finance Corporation (IFC)) organisations. Currently she is acting as a consultant for a DFID funded project based in the Cambridge University.
Public Economics; Public Finance; Emerging Markets Finance; Institutions and Political Economy.
Recent Research Grants
UGPN grant (US$20000) 1st August 2016-31 July 2017: Whither youth crime? Impact assessment of the recent public policy interventions in Brazil - Principal Applicant
ESRC small grant RES-000-22-0200 (£43804.00), October 2003- September 2005: 'CORPORATE CAPITAL STRUCTURE IN EAST ASIA BEFORE AND AFTER THE CRISIS'- Principal applicant.
ESRC standard grant RES-062-23-0986 (April 2008- March 2010): "FDI, Ownership and Corporate Governance in Europe" (joint with Nigel Driffield, Aston and Tomasz Mickiewicz, UCL)
Leverhulme Research Fellowship: September 2008-August 2009. "Rise of Private Schools and Universal Education"ESRC small grant RES-000-22-0200, October 2003- September 2005: "Corporate Capital Structure in East Asia Before and After the Crisis"
Brunel SSS research grant June 2010: 'Multiculturalism, Minority Representation and Public Policy: Evidence from Local Governments in the UK' (joint with Justin Fisher (Politics) & Sugata Ghosh (E&F))
I currently have collaborations with researchers at the City University London (UK), University of Durham (UK), University of Kent (UK), Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina), Paris School of Economics (France), Universidad Pablo de Olavide (Spain), Monash University (Australia), University of New South Wales (Australia), Indian Statistical Institute Delhi, Kolkata (India), University of Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Stevens Institute of Technology (USA) and the World Bank (USA).
MSc Quantitative Method (MANM280)
Head of Recruitment (Finance)
Research Fellow, IZA, University of Bonn, Germany;External research affiliate, CSAE, University of Oxford
Member American Economic Association
Member Royal Economic Society
Organisation of conferences/symposia
I organised ESRC funded (grant RES-000-22-0200) workshop on "Corporate Governance, Corporate Restructuring and Corporate Finance in Transition Economies" on 9-10 September 2005, Brunel University.
I organised Leverhulme Trust funded symposium on "School Privatisation and Universal Education in Asia" for the Oxford Conference on Education and Development, September 2009.
I organised ESRC funded special session on Globalisation and FDI at the Royal Economic Society Annual Conference March 2010.
I organised a symyposium on Institutions and Globalisation for the Association of the the Comparative Economic Studies as part of the ASSA meeting in Chicago, January 2012.
I organised the Surrey-IFABS 2016 conference on 'Firm Value Maximisation and Corporate Social Responsibility: Implications for Corporate Finance and Corporate Governance' on 15-16 September 2016
I organised the Surrey-UGPN conference on 'Youth Crime and Public Policy' between 6-7 July 2017
Policy Articles/Media Briefings
'Whither female disadvantage? An analysis of private school enrolment in India' October 2016 (forthcoming) Ideas for India Column, International Growth Centre LSE & Oxford.
Why demonetisation?Ideas for India Perspective December 1 2016
Why demonetisation?Business Standard December 1 2016
Dear PM Modi, Save Informal Sector from a Post Note Ban Recession (jointly with Kaushik Bhattacharya, Siddhartha Mitra and Bibhas Saha)The Quint, February 10 2017
Reviving the informal sector from the throes of demonetisation (jointly with Kaushik Bhattacharya, Siddhartha Mitra and Bibhas Saha)Ideas for India Perspective 13 February 2017
Land acquisition and corporate investment: Legacy of historical land ceiling legislations? (jointly with Tiago Pinheiro and Zoya Saher)Ideas for India Column April 23 2017
Why land ceilings hurt corporate investment? (jointly with Tiago Pinheiro and Zoya Saher)Business Standard April 23 2017
India's Cashless Society Participation in BBC World Service programme
Demonetisation and GST: Reckless Decisions that Cost the Economy? The Quint 28 November 2017
My research on Private schools in developing countries funded by the Leverhulme Research Fellowship 2008-09 has received a lot of attention since the publication of the DFID Rigorous Review and a follow-up article on the Guardian 16 March 2015. Find out more.
affect capital structure and
firm value?, The Economics of Transition
valuation. It argues that the effects of separation of control from cash flow rights on capital structure
and firm value also depend on the separation of control from management as well as on legal
rules and enforcement defining investors? protection. We obtain firm-level panel data (three stage
least squares, 3SLS) estimates from four of the East Asian countries worst affected by the last crisis.
There is evidence that the general wisdom that higher control than cash flow rights may lower
firm value may be reversed among owner-managed family firms in the sample countries.
Asia?corporate inertia or endeavours?, Journal of Royal Statistical Society Series A 173 Royal Statistical Society
corporations in seven east Asian countries before, during and after the crisis of 1997?1998. Our
methodology allows for speeds of adjustment to vary, not only among firms, but also over time,
distinguishing between cases of sudden and smooth adjustment.Whereas, compared with firms
in the least affected countries, average leverages were much higher, generalized method-ofmoments
analysis of the Worldscope panel data suggests that average speeds of adjustment
were lower in the worst affected countries. This holds also for the severely financially distressed
firms in some worst affected countries, though the trend reversed in the post-crisis period.
These findings have important implications for the regulatory environment as well as access to
The Case of Indian Automotive and Pharmaceutical Sectors, Journal of International Business Studies 41 (3) pp. 437-450 Palgrave Macmillan
shaped by local institutions, on the decision of these firms to undertake outward FDI. Our results
suggest that family firms and firms with concentrated ownerships, both ubiquitous in emerging
markets, are less likely to invest overseas, and that strategic equity holding by foreign investors
facilitates outward FDI. We conclude that organisational forms such as family firms, that are
optimal outcomes of institutions prevailing in emerging markets, may be sub-optimal in a
changing business environment in which outward FDI is necessary for access to resources and
Socially Motivated Private Schools of Nepal, Journal of Development Studies Taylor & Francis
providing schooling is little understood. We provide both theoretical and empirical insights as to why
not-for-profit private schools could enhance excellence in schooling, using Nepal as a case study.
Results suggest that socially motivated trust schools outperform all other types of schools irrespective
of whether we consider standardised test scores, absolute or relative to school expenditure per student.
Results are robust and highlight that trust school?s social objective, coupled with private financing,
ownership and management that minimises its agency costs, is key to their value for money.
Opportunities? Evidence from Central and Eastern Europe, Applied Financial Economics 23 (5) Routledge
other financial institutions to minimize the underlying agency costs of lending. An analysis of recent BEEPS data from fifteen Central and Eastern European (CEE)countries lends some support to this hypothesis. Even after controlling for other factors, firms affiliated to business associations are more likely to secure bank finance. Further,the importance business networking is particularly evident among firms who borrow from private domestic banks, as these new banks attempt to minimize costs of adverse
selection. There is also some confirmation that the significance of networking disappears with improvement in institutional quality.