Gita Gopinath to step down as Kerala chief minister's economic adviser; 44-year-old will soon join IMF as chief economist

Eminent academic Gita Gopinath will step down as the economic advisor of the Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The 44-year-old economist has been appointed as the Director of the International Monetary Fund's Research Department.

Vijayan in a press conference on 3 October had said, “She is being appointed as IMF’s chief economist. So naturally, she will not be able to continue as an advisor to the government,” reported Money Control.

Gopinath was appointed Vijayan's economic advisor shortly after he came to power in 2016, raising questions within the Communist Party of India as they had differing ideologies.

 Gita Gopinath to step down as Kerala chief ministers economic adviser; 44-year-old will soon join IMF as chief economist

File image of Gita Gopinath. Reuters

The Mysore born 44-year old economist with impeccable credentials is often labelled as a 'neo-liberal',  while the CPM that leads the Kerala government opposes such policies nationally.

Gopinath will soon take over as the economic counsellor and director of the IMF's Research Department — a post that former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan also held — from December after current chief economist Maurice Obstfeld retires in December.

Gopinath is the second Indian and first woman appointed to head the research department, which publishes the IMF's flagship publication, the World Economic Outlook, which is one of the most read documents containing in-depth analyses of the global economy and the developments and prospects in the sector. The director of the IMF's Research Department oversees the publication of the report.

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 had said in a statement.

Gopinath succeeds Maurice Obstfeld, who announced in July that he would retire at the end of this year. Gopinath, who received her MA degree from the Delhi School of Economics, is currently the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University in Boston, with her research focused on international finance and macroeconomics. Before joining Harvard, she was an assistant professor of economics at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business.

She has also served as a member of the Eminent Persons Advisory Group on G20 Matters for India's Ministry of Finance. She received her PhD 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.

An alumni of the Lady Sri Ram College in New Delhi, Gopinath 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 is also the co-editor of the current Handbook of International Economics, along with former IMF chief economist Kenneth Rogoff.

Her research in the field of international macroeconomics focused on issues related to international price-setting, exchange rate pass-through, emerging market business cycles and crisis. Her work has been published in the American Economic ReviewQuarterly Journal of EconomicsJournal of Political EconomyReview of Economic StudiesJournal of International Economics and Review of Economics and Statistics.

The IMF had named her one of the top 25 economists under 45 in 2014. In 2011, the World Economic Forum had chosen her as a Young Global Leader. She had also served on the editorial board of the IMF Economic Review from 2009 to 2013. 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.


Updated Date: Oct 05, 2018 13:18:03 IST