Gita Gopinath took over as the International Monetary Fund’s chief economist. She is the first woman to occupy the top post. She joined last week and became the second India-born economist to attain this position after former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan.
The John Zwaanstra of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University succeeded Maurice Obstfeld who had announced in July that he would retire at the end of the year. Gita also serves as the financial advisor to the CM of Kerala. When she joined in last week she believed that the world is experiencing a retreat from globalization, posing challenges to multilateral institutions.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde announced her appointment on October 1 and described her as, “one of the world’s outstanding economists with impeccable academic credentials, a proven track record of intellectual leadership and extensive international experience.”
In a recent interview to The Harvard Gazette, the 11th chief economist of the IMF, Ms. Gopinath said that her appointment was a tremendous honor and the first ever woman for this position speaks highly of IMF’s Managing Lagarde.
She said, “She is phenomenal, not just in her leadership of the IMF but as a role model for women around the world.”
Ms. Gopinath told about her top priorities that she would like the IMF to continue to be a place that provides intellectual leadership on important policy questions.
She further said, “Among the research issues that I would like to push, one would be understanding the role of dominant currencies like the dollar in international trade and finance. We could do more on the empirical side to try to understand countries dollar exposures and on the theoretical side in terms of the implications for international spillovers, consequences of dollar shortages, etc.”
She told that several countries invoice their trade in dollars and borrow internationally in dollars. This is the most important part of the international price system.