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Blanchard appointed IMF chief economist

Olivier Blanchard
Olivier Blanchard
Photo / MIT Economics Dept.

MIT economist Olivier Blanchard has been appointed chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, effective Sept. 1, 2008.

A macroeconomist specializing in monetary policy, global imbalances, labor-market performance and speculative bubbles, Blanchard Ph.D. '77 has taught at MIT since 1982.

James Poterba, chair of the MIT economics department, described Blanchard as one of the world's leading macroeconomists.

"He is completely comfortable discussing both practical policy recommendations and the latest conceptual frameworks. He brings to the IMF an extraordinary set of tools for fashioning sensible and effective policies, and a commitment to use economic analysis to improve economic performance around the world. He is a superb choice for this very important policy position," Poterba said.

In addition to teaching at MIT, Blanchard, 59, serves on advisory panels for the Federal Reserve Banks of New York and Boston, and he has served as a member of the French Economic Advisory Council to the French Prime Minister.

Blanchard said he is looking forward to the challenge of his new role.

"The world is a complex place, and the IMF is in a unique position to follow and analyze events, and provide expert advice," he noted.

A French citizen, Blanchard is the author of numerous books and articles and has published widely in French and in English. His textbook on macroeconomics, first published in 1997, has been reprinted four times and translated into 11 languages, including Chinese, Greek, Japanese and Spanish.

He is a fellow and council member of the Econometric Society, a past vice president of the American Economic Association, and a member of the American Academy of Sciences.

Blanchard will succeed Simon Johnson, Ronald A. Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management, who served as IMF chief economist for the past 14 months.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 4, 2008 (download PDF).

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