Gita Gopinath to leave IMF and return to Harvard University in January

Gita Gopinath
Gita Gopinath; photo credit: Harvard University

The Indian American economist is the first female Chief Economist of IMF.

Indian American Gita Gopinath, Chief Economist and Director of the Research Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), will resign in January 2022 and return to Harvard University, the Fund’s Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva announced on October 19.

The IMF appointed the 49-year-old economist as Chief Economist in January 2019. When she joined the global lender, she was the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard.

The university granted her a one-year leave of absence on an exceptional basis, allowing her to work for the IMF for three years.

READ: Indian American Gita Gopinath named IMF Economic Counselor and Director of Research (October 1, 2018)

Gopinath, who was born in Mysuru, is the IMF’s first female Chief Economist.

She is the head of the IMF’s research department, which publishes the World Economic Outlook report every quarter, which contains the closely followed GDP growth estimates.

“Gita’s contribution to the Fund and our membership has been truly remarkable —quite simply, her impact on the IMF’s work has been tremendous,” Georgieva said. “She made history as the first female Chief Economist of the Fund and we benefitted immensely from her sharp intellect and deep knowledge of international finance and macroeconomics as we navigate through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”

According to the IMF, Gopinath co-authored the Pandemic Paper on how to end the Covid-19 pandemic, which established universally recognized objectives for vaccination the world, as one of her major achievements.

She is the third woman to hold a tenured post in Harvard’s prestigious economics department, and the first Indian to do so since Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen.

READ: Harvard Professor Gita Gopinath appointed financial advisor to Kerala Chief Minister (July 22, 2016)

Gopinath has been widely published in top economics journals and has received numerous honors, including election as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Growing up in India, Gopinath did not know anyone who worked in economics, the profile noted. It was more common for children to aspire to become a doctor or an engineer.

She studied science through high school and when her parents’ friends suggested that she would enjoy success working for the country’s administrative services, she went to Delhi to study economics.

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