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Berkeley economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas named to high-level IMF post

As IMF's new chief economist, he "brings a stellar track record of scholarship and intellectual leadership."

informal portrait of Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas

Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas (Berkeley Economics photo by Genevieve Shiffrar)

UC Berkeley economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas today (Monday Jan. 10) was named the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), one of the most prestigious and influential positions in the sphere of global economics.

In his new role, Gourinchas will manage the IMF’s extensive research program and provide advice to the fund’s directors and to policymakers in its network of 190 member countries.

Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF’s managing director, announced the appointment and described Gourinchas as an exemplary macroeconomic scholar known for “his agility in spotting emerging trends and for his expertise in analyzing today’s most pressing economic problems.”

“He brings a stellar track record of scholarship and intellectual leadership in macroeconomic areas critical to our work — from global imbalances and capital flows to the stability of the international monetary and financial system, and more recently, to economic policies for the pandemic era,” Georgieva said.

He will assume the position on Jan. 24, working part-time initially so that he can complete teaching commitments at Berkeley. He will assume the post full time on April 1, taking a leave from duties at Berkeley.

Gourinchas joined the Berkeley faculty in 2003. He currently is a professor at Berkeley Economics, the Angela Chan Professor of Global Management at Berkeley Haas, and director of the campus’ Clausen Center for International Business and Policy.

“I am deeply honored to be appointed as the IMF’s economic counsellor,” Gourinchas said. “I look forward very much to working with my new IMF colleagues to navigate many of the important global economic issues of our times. I also want to express my deepest thanks to UC Berkeley for making it possible for me to serve in this position.”

He was born in France and completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees there. He was honored in 2008 as the best French economist under the age of 40. He also won the 2007 Bernàcer Prize for the best European economist under 40 working in macroeconomics and finance.

From 2009 to 2016, he was an IMF visiting scholar and editor-in-chief of the IMF Economic Review, the fund’s premier research journal. He is a co-editor of the Journal of International Economics, co-director of the International Finance and Macroeconomics Program at the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research and associate editor of the Journal of the European Economic Association.

The IMF works to encourage financial stability and to reduce poverty around the world, and its policies and programs support international trade, high employment and sustainable economic growth.

Gourinchas succeeds Gita Gopinath, an Indian American economist appointed to the post in 2019. She will now join the IMF’s management team as first deputy managing director.