Who is Gita Gopinath? First woman ever to join IMF as chief economist

FE Online

India-born Gita Gopinath has joined International Monetary Fund (IMF) as its chief economist, becoming the first woman ever to occupy the post. The 11th chief economist of the IMF succeeds Maurice (Maury) Obstfeld as Economic Counsellor and Director of the IMF’s Research Department. The 46-year-old is the second Indian to be appointed to the post after former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan.


She grew up in India and completed her graduation and post-graduation from India and moved to US for further studies. She completed her Bachelor’s in Economics from Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi. She pursued her Masters in Economics from Delhi School of Economics (1992-94) and University of Washington (1994-96). She did her PhD in Economics from Princeton University (1996-2001).

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She is the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and of Economics at Harvard University. After Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, she is the second India to join Harvard University s economics department as a permanent member. Gita gopinath is also a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and a member of the economic advisory panel of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. She also served as Economic Adviser to the Chief Minister of Kerala.

She had also written extensively on exchange rates, financial crises, monetary policy, and emerging markets in her research papers.

Family background

Gita Gopinath was born in Mysore. She pursued her schooling in Nirmala Convent School in Mysore.She is the younger of two daughters of TV Gopinath and VC Vijayalakshmi, both of whom belong to Kerala. She is a US citizen and an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI).


She is married to Iqbal Dhaliwal, Executive Director of J-PAL, based at the economics department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).