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HomeIndiaGovernanceHarvard professor Gita Gopinath appointed IMF's chief economist

Harvard professor Gita Gopinath appointed IMF’s chief economist

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Gopinath is one of the world’s outstanding economists, with impeccable academic credentials, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said.

New Delhi:India-born economist Gita Gopinath was Monday appointed chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Gopinath was appointed by IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, who called her “one of the world’s outstanding economists, with impeccable academic credentials, a proven track record of intellectual leadership, and extensive international experience”.

“All this makes her exceptionally well-placed to lead our research department at this important juncture. I am delighted to name such a talented figure as our chief economist,” Lagarde said.

Gopinath, 46, will succeed Maurice (Maury) Obstfeld, who will retire at the end of 2018.

Background and achievements

Gopinath currently serves as the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University. She is a US citizen and an Overseas Citizen of India.
She graduated from the University of Delhi and completed her postgraduation from the Delhi School of Economics and the University of Washington. She did her Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University in 2001. She was assistant professor at the University of Chicago for four years before moving to Harvard in 2005. She became a tenured professor of the Harvard economics department in 2010 — only the third woman ever to do so and the first person of Indian origin since Prof. Amartya Sen.

Gopinath is currently co-editor of the American Economic Review, and co-director of the International Finance and Macroeconomics Programme at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).She is co-editor of the current Handbook of International Economics with former IMF economic counsellor Kenneth Rogoff. She has authored some 40 research articles on exchange rates, trade and investment, international financial crises, monetary policy, debt, and emerging market crises.

Adviser to Kerala

Last year, Pinarayi Vijayan’s Left Democratic Front government in Kerala appointed Gopinath as the chief economic adviser to the chief minister. This led to a controversy, as many Left leaders have referred to her as an advocate of ‘neo-liberal’ policies.

Gopinath, who hails from Kerala, is reportedly helping the state without charge.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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  1. Prof Gita Gopinath would have made a fine CEA. There should be ten or fifteen economists of this calibre serving in various capacities in government. It is an economic sacrifice for them to work on deputation. It should be a simple matter for GoI to decide that they should be given a salary equal to last pay drawn by them at academic institutions abroad. After the next election, the government will have a lot of work to do on the economy. It will require a team of exceptional calibre to put the zing back in the economy. It goes without saying that these professionals should be listened to. Not everything they suggest may be politically feasible. However, economic decision making should have the focus of Arjuna looking at the bird’s eye, not shooting arrows in the dark.

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