Indian Woman Appointed Chief Economist at IMF

Dr. Gita Gopinath: 2nd Indian to be a permanent member of Harvard University’s Economics Department; 2nd to hold the position of Chief Economist at the IMF.WASHINGTON DC – The International Monetary Fund has appointed India-born Gita Gopinath as its next chief economist, replacing Maurice Obstfeld who will be retiring at the end of 2018.

Dr. Gopinath was born in Kolkata in 1971. She earned her BA at the University of Delhi, followed by a double Master’s degree in economics from the Delhi School of Economics and the University of Washington. She earned her Ph.D. in 2001 at Princeton University.

She is currently the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University. She is also co-editor of the American Economic Review and of the Handbook of International Economics.

She is co-director of the International Finance and Macroeconomics Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research. She also serves in the honorary position of Financial Advisor to the Chief Minister of Kerala. In the latter position, she is available in an advisory role to the state of Kerala “to connect various state departments to the knowledge leaders from around the world in sectors relevant to Kerala like public finance, management, entrepreneurship, labor, and development economics.”

IMF CEO Christian LeGarde said, “Gita is one of the world’s outstanding economists, with impeccable academic credentials, a proven track record of intellectual leadership, and extensive international experience.”

When Dr. Gopinath assumes her new role in January 2019, the IMF will join the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development with a woman as chief economist.

A recognized authority on exchange rates, the Financial Times expects, “She will be more in tune with mainstream thinking in her conclusions that trade is not a main driver of economic inequality, that emerging markets are wise to tilt away from dollar-denominated debt and that global coordination of financial regulation is essential.”

Although her views are considered conservative, the Financial Times‘ observation indicates a strong leaning away from the dollar as the basis for trade and debt calculations and an inclination that leans toward a globally-regulated (read ‘controlled’) economy.

Her distaste for “a dominant currency” could become the basis for challenging the IMF to propose a Euro-type inclusive currency on a global basis.

Ms. Gopinath has had more than 40 articles published on the subjects of exchange rates, trade, investment, international financial crises, monetary policy, debt, and emerging markets.

She is the third woman and the second Indian to become a permanent member of Harvard University’s Economics Department. In addition, she will become the second person from India to hold the position of Chief Economist at the IMF.


Image Source:

  • By World Economic Forum from Cologny, Switzerland (Rebooting India) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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