Harvard University professor Gita Gopinath appointed IMF chief economist

United Nations: Eminent academic and economic adviser to the Kerala government, Gita Gopinath, was appointed on Monday as Director of the International Monetary Fund’s Research Department.

Announcing the appointment, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde 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,” she said in a statement.

The director of the IMF’s Research Department oversees the World Economic Outlook Report that is considered a major survey of the global economy as well as several other reports and research projects that determine the financial and economic statuses of countries.

She succeeds Maurice Obstfeld, who announced in July that he would retire at the end of this year.

She was born and grew up in India, is a US citizen and an Overseas Citizen of India. She received her PhD in Economics from Princeton University in 2001 after earning a BA from University of Delhi and MA degrees from both the Delhi School of Economics and University of Washington, the IMF said in a statement.

She is concurrently the economic adviser to the Chief Minister of Kerala and, according to her bio at Harvard, she was appointed in 2016 to the honorary position with the rank of principal secretary.

She has also served as a member of the Eminent Persons Advisory Group on G-20 Matters for India’s Ministry of Finance.

She received her Ph.D in economics from Princeton University in 2001 for her work on international macroeconomics and trade and was an assistant professor at University of Chicago before moving to Harvard in 2005.

Her bachelor’s degree was from Lady Sri Ram College in New Delhi.

She received the Bhagwati Prize for the best paper published in the Journal of International Economics in 2003 and 2004.

In 2014, she was named one of the top 25 economists under 45 by the IMF and she was a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader in 2011.

Gopinath is also the co-editor of the American Economic Review and Handbook of International Economics, co-director of the International Finance and Macroeconomics Programme at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a member of the Economic Advisory Panel of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

She has authored some 40 research articles on exchange rates, trade and investment, international financial crises, monetary policy, debt and emerging market crises, according to the IMF.

By Arul Louis