IMF Appoints New Chief Economist

By on 27/07/2015 | Updated on 25/09/2020
Maurice Obstfeld will be the IMF's new chief economist from September

One of U.S. president Barack Obama’s economic advisers has been appointed as the new chief economist for the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde last week appointed Maurice Obstfeld as the new Economic Counsellor and Director of the IMF’s Research Department.

He will be replacing Olivier Blanchard who is retiring, and will take up his post on 8 September 2015.

A professor of economics – and former chair of the Department of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley – Obstfeld has advised many governments and consulted at central banks across the world.

He is currently serving as a member of president Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, on leave from Berkeley.

To most economists he is known for his “Foundations of International Macroeconomics”, a go-to textbook for postgraduate students on macroeconomics courses that he wrote with Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University.

He also co-authored a seminal textbook called “International Economics” with Paul Krugman and Marc Melitz — as well as more than 100 research articles on exchange rates, international financial crises, global capital markets, and monetary policy.

Among his many honours are the John von Neumann Award, the Bernhard Harms Prize, and the Tjalling C. Koopmans Asset Award of Tilburg University.

He received his Ph.D. in economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1979 after earning a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. from Cambridge University.

He joined Berkeley in 1989 as a professor, following appointments at Columbia between 1979 and 1986 and the University of Pennsylvania from 1986 to 1989. He was also a visiting professor at Harvard from 1989 to 1991.

Obstfeld has also held numerous honorary and advisory positions in academia and the public sector. He served from 2002 to 2014 as an honorary adviser to the Bank of Japan’s Institute of Monetary and Economic Studies, and is a fellow of the Econometric Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He has served both on the executive committee and as vice president of the American Economic Association – a not-for-profit scholarly organisation which promotes economic research.

He has also been a research fellow at the IMF on four separate occasions, most recently in 2012.

Lagarde said: “I am thrilled to have Maurice join us at the Fund. His outstanding academic credentials and extensive international experience make him exceptionally well placed to provide intellectual leadership to the IMF at this important juncture.

“He is known around the globe for his work on international economics and is considered one of the most influential macroeconomists in the world.

“The position of economic counsellor is of fundamental importance to the IMF’s ability to provide its global membership with the best possible independent analysis and policy advice. I am confident that we have found an exceptional candidate in Maurice to take this work forward.”

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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