Meet Gita Gopinath: The New Chief Economist At IMF
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has appointed Gita Gopinath as its new Chief Economist. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde made the appointment on Monday. Gopinath is now the new Economic Counsellor and Director of the IMF’s Research Department.
Here’s everything you should know
46-year-old Gopinath will succeed Maurice (Maury) Obstfeld. In July, Obstfeld announced he would retire at the end of 2018. Gopinath currently serves as the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University.
Professor Gopinath was born and brought up in India. She is a US citizen and an Overseas Citizen of India. Her academic journey started from Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi where she did her Bachelors in Economics. She pursued her Masters in Economics from Delhi School of Economics and University of Washington. Post this, she earned her Doctorate from Princeton University.
Gopinath joined the University of Chicago as an Assistant Professor in 2001. in 2005, she moved to Harvard and became a tenured Professor there in 2010.
Outstanding economist with huge academic credentials
- Gopinath serves as a co-editor of the American Economic Review. She is also the co-director of the International Finance and Macroeconomics Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).
- She, alongwith Former IMF Economic Counsellor, Kenneth Rogoff, are co-editors of the current Handbook of International Economics.
- The new chief economist has authored about 40 research articles on exchange rates, trade and investment, international financial crises, monetary policy, debt, and emerging market crises.
- Her research, apart from focusing on macroeconomics and international finance, also includes issues of current relevance like exchange rate dynamics and border taxes. One of her recent works is a 2017 paper on rethinking international macro economic policies.
IMF MD Christine Lagarde proudly called Gopinath a world-class economist. “Gita is one of the world’s outstanding economists, with impeccable academic credentials, a proven track record of intellectual leadership, and extensive international experience,” Lagarde said. “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 added.
Gopinath, in an interview last year, said that the demonetisation move undertaken by the Narendra Modi government was not a good idea.
“I don’t think I know a single macro economist who thinks that this was a good idea. I view the GST very favourably because that is a real reform. It is a way of formalising the economy. It is a very effective way of ensuring tax compliance and makes it harder to earn black money. But obviously, it is going to take some time to smooth out; the implementation again has been disruptive. Which makes me wish they hadn’t done demonetisation, then you could have used that time to have brought in GST smoothly,” she had said.
Gopinath is the third woman in the history of Harvard to be a tenured professor at its economics department. She is also the first Indian since Nobel laureate Amartya Sen to hold this position.
She has served as a member of the “eminent persons advisory group” on G20 matters for India’s finance ministry.
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences elected Gopinath as a fellow in 2018. Also, the University of Washington has awarded her with its prestigious Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Gopinath will take over her new role after Obstfeld’s retirement in December.