Dhe chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, Gita Gopinath, is giving up her post and going back to Harvard University to fill her vacant professorship. The change will take place in January after three years at the head of the fund’s economics department. The head of the Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgiewa, presented the change as a planned step. In fact, three out of four Gopinath’s predecessors were chief economists at the IMF between one and a half and three years, while his predecessor Olivier Blanchard held the role for seven years.
The departure of Gopinath provokes increased attention after allegations of data manipulation against Georgieva. In a test report she was accused of having manipulated the work of the scientists in favor of China. The IMF Board of Directors did not find sufficient evidence for this, but demanded unspecified measures from the IMF management to ensure the independence of the research department.
There is no evidence that Gopinath is leaving for any other reason than a desire to keep her vacant Harvard professorship. She felt “immense gratitude for all of her exceptional colleagues in the Monetary Fund,” who have done their work in a fulfilling manner, she said on Twitter.
Sharp intellect and pragmatism
Georgieva highlighted Gopinath’s contributions as “really remarkable” and their impact on the work of the IMF as tremendous. She made history as the first woman in the position. The fund benefited immensely from her keen intellect and deep understanding of international finances.
Gopinath had headed the economic department of the Monetary Fund during the difficult time of the pandemic crisis, in which classic economic policy recipes for boosting supply and demand were not fruitful. In May of this year, she co-authored a 54-page pragmatic proposal on how to end the pandemic. Among other things, he stipulated that at least 40 percent of the entire world would have to be vaccinated this year and at least 70 percent by the middle of next year. She combined her proposal, which also provides for comprehensive tests, with the demand that 50 billion dollars be made available for it. If implemented consistently, Gopinath expected the world economy to become $ 9 trillion richer. The goals she formulated have resulted in the Covid strategy of the World Health Organization and the United Nations.
With this work at the latest, the currency expert dispelled any last doubts that she was too academic for the task. Under Gopinath, who will be 50 years old in December, the process of detachment from monetarism and classical theory, initiated by his predecessor Maurice Obstfeld, has continued. In her own academic work, for example, Gopinath challenged Milton Friedman’s currency theory and raised doubts about the merits of a completely free movement of capital. Because of her role as an advisor to Indian politicians, she brought an international perspective to her work. The monetary fund will soon start looking for a successor, he said.