YaleNews

Yale economics professor Pinelopi Goldberg will serve as chief economist of the World Bank, making her the second woman in the organization’s history to hold the position, President of the World Bank Group Jim Yong Kim announced on Thursday.

A prominent applied microeconomist, Goldberg is widely cited for her research on developing countries, especially the effects trade policies have on those countries’ welfare. As World Bank Group chief economist and senior director for development economics, she will shape the bank’s overall development strategy at the global, regional and national levels in an effort to promote sustainable growth, shared prosperity and a world free of extreme poverty, Kim said in the statement announcing Goldberg’s appointment.

“It is a great opportunity to have impact on policies that affect the lives and well-being of millions of people,” Goldberg told the News. “This is a pivotal time for developing countries. While there has been tremendous progress in reducing global poverty in the last few decades, we are still far from the target of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030. For this target to be realized, we need evidence-based combinations of strategies to create the conditions required for development.”

Goldberg, who was offered the position just days ago, said she will take a public service leave from Yale for two years beginning in late November, although the World Bank has not yet announced when she will assume the position. She joins the transnational organization amid a worldwide backlash against globalization, with a rise in protectionism and calls to close borders.

To reduce global poverty requires broad and substantial investments in developing countries, according to Goldberg. But Goldberg will have to confront an increasingly prevalent attitude in developing countries — that the reduction of poverty and global inequality has been achieved at the price of increasing inequality within developed countries.

“All this threatens to reverse the gains achieved [in global poverty reduction] in the last few decades,” she said.

From 2011 to 2017, Goldberg served as editor-in-chief of the American Economic Review. As a result, she possesses a broad understanding of economics at large, and a deep understanding of economic theory and contemporary economic questions, Bergemann told the News. She is currently vice president of the American Economic Association and a member of the Econometric’s Society executive committee and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

During her academic career, she has received fellowships from both the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. A native of Greece, she won the Bodossaki Prize in Social Sciences in 2003, which is awarded to a distinguished scholar of Greek nationality or descent who is younger than 45.

“It is an immense tribute to her academic and professional accomplishment to have received this appointment, and I am sure that she will exceed much beyond expectation in her work at the World Bank,” Bergemann said. “I am delighted for her to have received the honor, but at the same time at the Department of Economics and at the University of large we will miss her very much. We are thus looking forward to return from her public leave from Yale and bring all her experience and energy back to Yale after this assignment is completed.”

Goldberg will teach one final semester of introductory microeconomics next fall before leaving New Haven for Washington, D.C.

Adelaide Feibel | adelaide.feibel@yale.edu