The Harvard professor becomes second the Indian American selected to hold the position.
The International Monetary Fund has named Indian American Gita Gopinath as its Economic Counselor and Director of Research Department.
“Gita is one of the world’s outstanding economists, with impeccable academic credentials, a proven track record of intellectual leadership, and extensive international experience,” IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in a statement on Monday. “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.”
Gopinath, the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and of Economics at Harvard University, will succeed the retiring Maurice Obstfeld.
A specialist in international macroeconomics and finance, she becomes the second Indian American to hold the position. Raghuram Rajan, a former Chief Economic Adviser to India’s Finance Ministry and a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School, served as the IMF Economic Counselor and Director of Research from 2003 to 2006.
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Gopinath, who grew up in Mysore, Karnataka, currently also serves as an adviser to the Chief Minister of the Indian state of Kerala.
She did her undergraduate degree in economics from Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi, and a master’s from the Delhi School of Economics. She came to the United States to enroll for a master’s at the University of Washington. In 2001, she earned her PhD in economics from Princeton University in the fields of international macroeconomics and trade. Her advisers included former Fed chief Ben Bernanke, Harvard economist Ken Rogoff, and Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, now a professor at UC Berkeley.
After her PhD, Gopinath worked as an assistant professor at the University of Chicago for four years before joining Harvard in 2005 in the same position. Five years later, she would become a tenured professor. Currently, she is one of the only three women to have tenure at the economics department at Harvard. She is also the first India-born woman to get tenure at the department.
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Gopinath, now a US citizen, is married to Iqbal Singh Dhaliwal, who heads the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They have a 14-year-old son, Rohil.