Gita Gopinath To Leave IMF, Return to Harvard University in Jan

The 49-year-old Indian American economist, Gita Gopinath, was IMF’s first female chief economist.

2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>The 49-year-old Indian-American economist, Gita Gopinath was IMF’s first female chief economist.</p></div>

International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief economist Gita Gopinath will return to Harvard University in January, the IMF said on Tuesday, 19 October.

The 49-year-old Indian American economist, who had joined the organisation in January 2019, was IMF’s first female chief economist.

The IMF cited in a statement that the fund greatly values Gopinath’s “tremendous” impact on the IMF’s work.

"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," IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement.

Gopinath will continue to work with the IMF to oversee the release of the fund’s next World Economic Outlook forecasts in January.


Gopinath was lauded for drafting a $50 billion proposal citing solutions to tackle the pandemic by vaccinating at least 40% of the population in all countries by the end of 2021. This was later endorsed by the World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization.

Her work led to the creation of the Multilateral Task Force that has been working with vaccine manufacturers to accelerate delivery of vaccines to all countries, especially the lower-middle-income countries.

She had also helped set up a climate change team inside the IMF.

Gopinath’s successor has not been finalised yet.

"I would like to express my personal appreciation to Gita for her impressive contributions, her always wise counsel, her devotion for the mission of the Research Department and the Fund more broadly, as well as her widely recognized inclusive and accessible approach to colleagues and staff,” the Managing Director said in a statement.

“Gita also won the respect and admiration of colleagues in the Research Department, across the Fund, and throughout the membership for leading analytically rigorous work and policy-relevant projects with high impact and influence,” the statement read.

Third Woman in History of Harvard To Be a Tenured Professor

Born in December 1971 to parents from Kerala, Gopinath completed her education in Kolkata and Delhi. She later did her master's from the Delhi School of Economics as well as from the University of Washington.

She went on to do her PhD in economics from Princeton University in 2001, joined the University of Chicago in 2001 as an assistant professor before moving to Harvard in 2005.

She is the third woman in the history of Harvard to become a tenured professor.

She was a visiting scholar at both the IMF and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, member of the economic advisory panel of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Economic Adviser to the Chief Minister of Kerala state in India, and member of the Eminent Persons Advisory Group on G-20 Matters for India's Ministry of Finance.

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