Yale’s Penny Goldberg appointed chief economist at the World Bank

Penny Goldberg
Penny Goldberg

Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg, the Elihu Professor of Economics at Yale, has been named chief economist of the World Bank.

In announcing Goldberg’s appointment on April 26, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim cited her record as a leading applied micro-economist widely cited for her research on developing countries, including the effects of trade on inequality and firm productivity, profits and innovation, and enforcement of intellectual property rights.

I’m thrilled that Penny Goldberg will bring her vast academic experience, intellectual rigor, and boundless curiosity to the World Bank Group,” Kim said. “Penny has spent her career examining many of the most complex issues that affect developing countries, and she will help answer the most important — and difficult — questions of our time: how to help developing countries prepare for the economy of the future, and how to ensure equality of opportunity everywhere in the world.”

As chief economist, Goldberg will guide the World Bank’s research agenda and development strategy. She is expected to strengthen the institution’s connection to state-of-the-art academic research and help shape a vision of how to achieve the goals of sustainable growth, shared prosperity, and a world free of extreme poverty, according to Kim’s announcement.

Goldberg, who has dual Greek and American citizenship, said that she is excited to serve at the World Bank, an international financial institution that is committed to ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity around the globe.

Yale has a long tradition not only of excellence in research and teaching, but also of public service, and I strive to be part of this tradition,” Goldberg said. “I am truly excited about the opportunity to help the World Bank meet its goals. And while being away from Yale in the next couple of years is bittersweet, I hope to draw on the expertise and wisdom of my current colleagues many of whom have made path-breaking contributions to the study of growth, development, and poverty reduction.”

Goldberg, who joined Yale’s faculty in 2001, will take public service leave from Yale beginning in late November.

Dirk Bergemann, chair of the Department of Economics, applauded Goldberg’s appointment.

Penny is one of the leading academic economists worldwide, and we are immensely proud that a distinguished Yale faculty member will serve as chief economist at the World Bank,” he said. “At Yale, Penny has been a leading and energetic voice to shape the future of the Department of Economics and the Division of Social Sciences more generally. Just before she departs for Washington in the late fall, Penny will teach introductory microeconomics to first-year students, and I highly recommend that all incoming students take her class.”

Bergemann noted Goldberg’s empirical research on the effects and determinants of international trade policies has been highly influential. Her work on the distributional effects of trade liberalization and globalization has attracted sustained interest among academics and policymakers alike, he said.

From 2011 to 2017, Goldberg was editor-in-chief of the American Economic Review, the leading academic journal of the American Economic Association. She is vice president of the American Economic Association and a member of the Econometric Society’s executive committee.

Goldberg is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. She has won the 2003 Bodossaki Prize in Social Sciences, which is awarded to distinguished scholars of Greek nationality or decent, who is younger than 45.

Goldberg is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economics Research and board member of the Bureau of Research and Economic Analysis of Development. She previously served on the economics faculty at Princeton University and Columbia University. She holds a Diplom from the University of Freiburg, Germany, and a Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Past chief economists of the World Bank include Stanley Fischer, former vice chair of the Federal Reserve and former governor of the Bank of Israel; Lawrence Summers, former U.S. Treasury Secretary and director of the National Economic Council;  and Joseph Stiglitz, recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics and a former Yale faculty member.

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