Gita Gopinath Becomes The First Woman Chief Economist At IMF

The Logical Indian Crew India

October 3rd, 2018 / 1:47 PM

Gita Gopinath

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International Monetary Fund(IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde has appointed Harvard University professor Gita Gopinath as the Chief Economist of the IMF. The MD in an October 1 release announced the appointment and stated that Gopinath will be the successor of Maurice(Maury) Obstfeld, who will be retiring at the end of 2018. This not only makes the India-born professor to become the first woman to hold the position but also the second person of Indian origin to do so. Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan was the only other Indian to serve as the Chief Economist at IMF. 

Who is Gita Gopinath?

At present, the 46-year-old is the John Zwaanstra professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University where she has been teaching since 2005. The Indian-American economist was born in 1971 in the India city of Mysore in Karnataka. Gopinath, the daughter of a farmer and an entrepreneur, completed her Bachelor’s from Lady Shri Ram College for Women in 1992 and then went on to finish her master’s from Delhi School of Economics in 1994. In 2017, she had told the Economic Times that India’s first major financial crisis in the early 1990’s which sparked her interest in international finance. She went on to secure a Master’s degree from the University of Washington in 1996 before finishing a PhD from Princeton University in 2001.

Over nearly the next two decades, Gopinath worked hard to solidify her academic career even further. In 2001, she was appointed an assistant professor of economics at the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business and in 2005, she moved to Harvard.

What are her achievements?

According to Moneycontrol, Gita is the Co-editor of the American Economic Review and Co-director of the International Finance and Macroeconomics Program at National Bureau of Economic Research(NBER). She has authored nearly 40 research articles on a wide variety of topics such as exchange rates, international financial crises, emerging market crises and investment. In 2011,  she was chosen as the Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Gita has also served as a member of the Eminent Persons Advisory Group on G-20 Matters for the Finance ministry. The IMF in 2014 named her as one of the top 25 economists under 45. Gopinath, a Malayalee by birth was also appointed as Kerala’s economic advisor in early 2016.  This move had sparked a contentious debate where her neo-liberal advocacy was seen to be at odds with the state’s Leftist economic policies.

Gopinath has been critical of India’s demonetisation move where she has openly called out the Indian government to assert that it wasn’t a good idea. During an interview with Business Standard, she had said, “I don’t think I know a single macroeconomist who thinks that this was a good idea.”

What does her job at IMF entail?

The IMF is a leading international body working in the field of global finance and economy. The IMF’s job is to promote financial stability, foster global monetary cooperation and reduce poverty around the world. The post of the Economic Counsellor is known to be as one of the most prestigious positions and has been held by very famous researchers of international economics. Gita is the second Indian to hold this position with former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan being the first.

She will have the job of advising on the funding of the policy issues and conveying the ideas to the policymakers. All the research done in IMF will also be looked over by Gita. IMF Managing Director spoke highly of Gita during her announcement as the Economic Counsellor. “Gopinath is one of the world’s outstanding economists, with impeccable academic credentials, a proven track record of intellectual leadership, and extensive international experience”, Christine said.

The Logical Indian community congratulates Gita Gopinath on becoming the first woman IMF chief economist.

Also Read: World Debt Reaches All-Time High Of $164 Trillion


Written by : Shubham Khairnar (Intern)

Edited by : Sromona Bhattacharyya

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