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Kenneth S. Rogoff, the chief economist for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has been chosen to lead Harvard’s Center for International Development (CID) when he returns to the University this September.
Two members of the research center’s steering committee said Rogoff was tapped earlier this summer to take over the position left vacant when former CID director Jeffrey D. Sachs ’76 took the helm of Columbia University’s Earth Institute last summer. Rogoff’s appointment is expected to be announced by late September.
Neither Rogoff, a professor of economics, nor Hariri Professor of International Political Economy Dani Rodrik, the chair of the steering committee, could be reached for comment this week. Central administration officials were unavailable as well.
The focus and funding of the Kennedy School of Government-affiliated center has been in limbo for the past year as Rodrik and the steering committee awaited the appointment of a new director. When Sachs departed, with him went millions of dollars in grants as well as his commitment to a CID that provided consulting and outreach in addition to research.
Rodrik said last year that under Sachs—whose public advocacy activities included appearing with rock singer Bono and advising the U.N. on poverty reduction—CID had become involved in influencing policy at the expense of academic research.
Rodrik said then that he and the committee felt CID “should not be in the business of providing technical assistance or policy advice and consulting.”
Members of the steering committee said they were unsure of Rogoff’s plans for CID or of the details of the center’s funding in years to come.
“I really don’t know much about the process of his selection or even what his goals are as the new head of CID,” said committee member Andrew Spielman, professor of tropical public health at the School of Public Health.
“I’ve only talked with [Rogoff] for about 20 minutes, so I don’t have any information on what he planned to do,” said Mark R. Rosenzweig, professor of public policy at the Kennedy School.
Rosenzweig said that in the absence of a permanent director, the steering committee had not attempted to raise money but merely to hold down the fort despite a “much smaller budget” than has been typical since CID was founded in 1998.
Sachs, though, wrote in an e-mail that he considered Rogoff an “excellent appointment.”
“Rogoff is one of the world’s experts in international finance, and indeed is the co-author of the most important graduate textbook in international finance that exists,” Sachs wrote. “He is also a world-renowned authority on globalization, which is one of the central themes of CID.”
Sachs said he expected that he expected research ties between CID and his Earth Institute to increase under Rogoff.
Baker Professor of Economics Martin S. Feldstein ’61 said he was “delighted” at the news when Rogoff announced his return to Harvard in May.
“Rogoff is a first-rate economist and now will have the extra insights and knowledge that come from spending time in a key policy position,” Feldstein said then.
Rogoff spent two years at the IMF on a leave of absence from the Harvard economics department, which he joined in 1999. Prior to that, Rogoff was the Robertson professor of international affairs at Princeton University. He has also served on the staff at the IMF and the Federal Reserve Board and as a visiting scholar at the World Bank.
—Staff writer Elisabeth S. Theodore can be reached at email@example.com.
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