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Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund

The chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is also the economic counsellor and director of the fund's Research Department and is responsible for providing independent advice to the fund on its policy issues, integrating ideas of the research in the design of policies, conveying these ideas to the policymakers inside and outside the fund and managing all research done at IMF.[1] The chief economist is a member of the Senior Leadership of the IMF.

"The job is one of the most prestigious in the field, and has been held by some of the most prominent academic researchers in international economics."[2][3] The chief economist is part of the senior leadership team, directly advises the managing director, and leads about a hundred Ph.D. economists in the Research Department.

The Research Department publishes working papers on highly relevant policy and research issues in international economics; produces a number of reports including the widely tracked annual World Economic Outlook; organizes conferences including the annual research conference that brings together top economists and policymakers; and publishes the peer reviewed journal IMF Economic Review.

The position has been held by the following:

Name Term University at appointment
Edward Bernstein[4] 1946–1958
Jacques Polak[5][6][7] 1958–1980
William Hood[8][9] 1980–1987
Jacob Frenkel[10][11] 1987–1991 University of Chicago
Michael Mussa[12] August 1991 – 29 June 2001 University of Chicago
Kenneth Rogoff[13] August 2001 – September 2003 Harvard University
Raghuram Rajan[14] September 2003 – January 2007 University of Chicago
Simon Johnson[15] March 2007 – 31 August 2008 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Olivier Blanchard[16] 1 September 2008 – 8 September 2015 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Maurice Obstfeld[17] 8 September 2015 – 31 December 2018 University of California, Berkeley
Gita Gopinath[18][19][20] 1 January 2019 – 21 January 2022 Harvard University
Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas[21] 24 January 2022 – present University of California, Berkeley

First woman chief economist of the IMF

After the announcement of Maurice Obstfeld's retirement in December 2018,[22] Harvard professor Gita Gopinath, a leading scholar in exchange rates, sovereign debt and capital flows was appointed as chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).[23] Gita Gopinath, the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University's economics department is the first woman to hold this position.[24] Gopinath, who was born in India, received her Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University in 2001 after earning a B.A. from the University of Delhi and M.A. degrees from both the Delhi School of Economics and University of Washington.[25] At Princeton's economics department, her Ph.D. advisors included two future chief economists of the IMF - professor Ken Rogoff (2001-03) and professor Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas (2022-25) and a future Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve - professor Ben Bernanke (2006-14).[26]

Gopinath is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Econometric Society. She is the recipient of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, the highest honour conferred on overseas Indians by the Government of India, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Washington. She was named among Bloomberg 50 people who defined 2019, Foreign Policy named her one of the Top Global Thinkers in 2019 and Time magazine named her among the Women who Broke Major Barriers to Become 'Firsts' in 2019. Earlier the IMF named her one of the top 25 economists under 45 in 2014, Financial Times named her one of the 25 Indians to Watch in 2012, and she was chosen as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2011.[27]

In December 2021, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva announced the elevation of Gita Gopinath as the Fund’s new First Deputy Managing Director. Gopinath had been earlier scheduled to return to her academic position at Harvard University in January 2022 on completion of her term as Chief Economist. Georgieva added that "given that the pandemic has led to an increase in the scale and scope of the macroeconomic challenges facing our member countries, Gita—universally recognized as one of the world’s leading macroeconomists—has precisely the expertise that we need for the FDMD role at this point. Indeed, her particular skill set—combined with her years of experience at the Fund as Chief Economist—make her uniquely well qualified. She is the right person at the right time.” [28][29]

See also


  1. ^ Frederic S. Mishkin; Francesco Giavazzi; T. N. Srinivasan (2000). External Evaluation of IMF Economic Research Activities. International Monetary Fund. p. 63. ISBN 978-1-55775-862-0.
  2. ^ Zumbrun, Josh (July 25, 2018). "IMF Chief Economist Maurice Obstfeld to Retire". Wall Street Journal.
  3. ^ Treanor, Jill (20 July 2015). "IMF appoints new chief economist". The Guardian.
  4. ^ Pace, Eric (10 June 1996). "New York Times Obituary: Dr. Bernstein went on to be the first director of research at the International Monetary Fund, from 1946 to 1958". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "Statement by IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn on the Death of Jacques Polak" (Press release). IMF. February 27, 2010.
  6. ^ "IMF Annual Report 1966" (PDF).
  7. ^ "IMF Annual Report 1979" (PDF).
  8. ^ "IMF Annual Report 1985" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  9. ^ "IMF Annual Report 1980" (PDF).
  10. ^ "Economist Rajan joins IMF". Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  11. ^ Farnsworth, Clyde H.; Times, Special To the New York (1986-09-25). "I.M.F. FILLING A KEY POST". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-01-28.
  12. ^ "Mussa To Step Down as IMF Economic Counsellor News Brief No. 01/25 March 7, 2001".
  13. ^ "IMF Managing Director Köhler Proposes Stanford University's Krueger As First Deputy And Names Three Department Heads Press Release No. 01/27 June 7, 2001".
  14. ^ "IMF Managing Director Köhler Proposes Raghuram Rajan as Economic Counsellor and Director of the IMF's Research Department Press Release No. 03/100 July 2, 2003".
  15. ^ "IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato Proposes Simon Johnson as Economic Counsellor and Director of the IMF's Research Department Press Release No. 07/34 February 28, 2007".
  16. ^ "IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn Announces Department Director Appointments Press Release No. 08/122 May 27, 2008".
  17. ^ "IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde Appoints Maurice Obstfeld as Economic Counsellor and Director of the IMF's Research Department Press Release No.15/343 July 20, 2015".
  18. ^ "Christine Lagarde Appoints Gita Gopinath as IMF Chief Economist".
  19. ^ "IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath to Return to Harvard University". IMF. Retrieved 2022-01-10.
  20. ^ "First Deputy Managing Director Geoffrey Okamoto to Leave IMF, Gita Gopinath to Be IMF's New First Deputy Managing Director". IMF. Retrieved 2022-01-10.
  21. ^ "IMF Managing Director Names Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas as IMF Economic Counsellor and Head of Research Department". IMF. Retrieved 2022-01-10.
  22. ^ "IMF Chief Economist Maurice Obstfeld to Retire". Archived from the original on 2018-10-02.
  23. ^ "IMF Appoints Harvard's Gita Gopinath as Chief Economist". The Wall Street Journal.
  24. ^ "IMF appoints Harvard's Gita Gopinath as first woman chief economist". Financial Times. October 2018.
  25. ^ "Gita's go - A fresh face, and fresh thinking on exchange rates". The Economist.
  26. ^ "Harvard Professor Gita Gopinath, MA '96, Selected 2017 Distinguished Alumna | Department of Economics | University of Washington". Retrieved 2022-01-19.
  27. ^ "Harvard University Economics Department-Professor Gita Gopinath". Archived from the original on 2014-07-15.
  28. ^ "First Deputy Managing Director Geoffrey Okamoto to Leave IMF, Gita Gopinath to Be IMF's New First Deputy Managing Director". IMF. Retrieved 2022-01-10.
  29. ^ "IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath to Return to Harvard University". IMF. Retrieved 2022-01-10.

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