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Carmen Reinhart Becomes World Bank Chief Economist

WASHINGTON:The World Bank on Wednesday named former Bear Stearns executive Carmen Reinhart as its chief economist, tapping a financial crisis expert who also currently serves on advisory boards of the IMF and the New York Federal Reserve.

World Bank President David Malpass said in a statement Reinhart’s experience and insights would prove invaluable as the coronavirus pandemic heaps economic pain on developing countries. She starts at the Bank on June 15.

Reinhart, a professor at Harvard University, published a book titled, This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, together with economist Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University in 2009.

The book calls for stricter regulations and an early-warning system to sound the alarm about financial bubbles. It argues central bankers, policymakers and investors tend to ignore the telltale signs of a financial bubble.

In an article she wrote on the pandemic in March, Reinhart said: “Clearly, this is a ‘whatever-it-takes’ moment for large-scale, outside-the-box fiscal and monetary policies.”

Reinhart has a PhD from Columbia University and teaches international economics at the Harvard Kennedy School. She has also worked at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, the International Monetary Fund and the University of Maryland and the former Bear Stearns investment bank.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva tweeted her congratulations, calling Reinhart “a great choice, especially at this time of crisis.”

IMF chief economist,Gita Gopinath,a Keralite, in a separate tweet, added: “@carmenmreinhart is an extraordinary economist with deep expertise in crises, debt, capital flows, from a current and historical perspective.”

“She’s obviously well suited to the moment,” said Scott Morris, a former US Treasury official who is now a senior fellow with the Centre for Global Development. “The Bank could be entering uncharted territory in the months ahead, so it’s good to have her intellectual firepower onboard.”

Reinhart’s expertise includes international capital flows, and sovereign debt crises, the Bank said.

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