May 20, 2020 / 9:02 PM / 4 days ago

World Bank names financial crisis expert Reinhart as chief economist

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - 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.

FILE PHOTO: Carmen Reinhart, Minos A. Zombanakis Professor of the International Financial System at Harvard Kennedy School attends the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

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 entitled “This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly,” together with economist Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University in 2009.

The book called for stricter regulations and an early-warning system to sound the alarm about financial bubbles, arguing that central bankers, policy makers and investors tended to ignore the telltale signs of a bubble.

In an article here 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 Ph.D. 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, 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 U.S. 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 include international capital flows, and sovereign debt crises, the Bank said.

She replaces Pinelopi Goldberg, who left on March 1 after only 15 months on the job.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; additional reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Tom Brown

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