January 13, 202209:00 am EST

Moderator: Dani Rodrik (Harvard University). President of IEA

Panelists: Penny Goldberg (Yale; former editor, AER, president of Econometric Society), Rema Hanna (Harvard, Co-editor, AER and former editor REStat and JHR), Jim Poterba (MIT, president of NBER), Beatrice Weder di Mauro (Graduate Institute Geneva, president of CEPR)

Pinelopi “Penny” Koujianou Goldberg (born 1963) is a Greek-American economist who served as chief economist of the World Bank from 2018 until 2020. She holds the named chair of Elihu Professor of Economics at Yale University. She is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Goldberg is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences, fellow of the Econometric Society and its president for 2021, a faculty research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a member of the board of BREAD (Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development), and a research affiliate of the International Growth Centre of the London School of Economics. She is a recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship and the Bodossaki Prize in social sciences.

Note: The American Economic Review (AER) is a monthly peer-reviewed academic journal published by the American Economic Association. First published in 1911, it is considered one of the most prestigious and highly distinguished journals in the field of economics. The current editor-in-chief is Esther Duflo (MIT).

Rema Hanna (Harvard, Co-editor, AER and former editor REStat and JHR)

Rema Hanna is the Jeffrey Cheah Professor of South-East Asia Studies and Chair of the International Development Area at the Harvard Kennedy School.  She serves as the Faculty Director of Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at Harvard University’s Center for International Development and is the co-Scientific Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) South East Asia Office in Indonesia.  In addition, Professor Hanna is a Research Associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and an affiliate of the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD).

Her research revolves around improving the provision of public services in developing and emerging nations, particularly for the very poor.  She combines economic theory, qualitative field work, extensive data collection, and cutting-edge empirical analysis to offer insights into how governments function and how they can do better.  Part of her work focuses on how to improve overall service delivery, as well as understanding the impacts of corruption, bureaucratic absenteeism, and discrimination against disadvantaged minority groups on delivery outcomes.  She is particularly interested in how governments can improve and strengthen social protection, tax collection, and environmental safety. 

Prior to joining the Harvard Kennedy School, Hanna was an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Economics at New York University. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a B.S. from Cornell University with Honors and Distinction.

Jim Poterba (MIT, president of NBER)

James Michael “Jim” Poterba, FBA (born July 13, 1958) is an American economistMitsui Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and current the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) president and chief executive officer.

Poterba was born in New York City. He completed his A.B., summa cum laude, in 1980 from Harvard University and completed his Ph.D. in 1983 from Nuffield College, Oxford. He was a Marshall Scholar.

Poterba started his career as an instructor in Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He became Professor of Economics at MIT in 1988. Today, he is the Mitsui Professor of Economics.  He became the president of the National Bureau of Economic Research on 1 July 2008.

Poterba is known for his research on how taxation affects the economic decisions of households and firms. His research has emphasized the effect of taxation on the financial behavior of households, particularly their saving and portfolio decisions. He is also interested in the analysis of tax-deferred retirement saving programs such as 401(k) plans and in the role of annuities in financing retirement consumption.

Beatrice Weder di Mauro (Graduate Institute Geneva, president of CEPR)

Beatrice Weder di Mauro (born August 3, 1965) is a Swiss-Italian academic and businesswoman who is currently professor of economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Distinguished Fellow-in-residence at the Emerging Markets Institute of INSEAD Singapore,  and a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. Since 2018, she also serves as President of the Centre for Economic Policy Research .

From June 2004 to 2012, she was a member of the German Council of Economic Experts. She was the first woman and the first non-German in the council whose responsibility is to advise the German government on economic issues. She has advised both the former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and the current Chancellor Angela Merkel. She also serves on the board of several major corporations, including UBSBombardier Inc. and Robert Bosch GmbH. Her research interests are in international macroeconomics, in particular financial crisis, global capital flows, financial regulation, sovereign debt, development and growth. She has published widely in leading academic journals and writes regular op-eds and contributions to the public policy debate.

Weder di Mauro spent her childhood with her family in Guatemala before returning to Switzerland at the age of sixteen. From 1971 to 1980, she studied in a German school in Guatemala and in 1984 she obtained the high school diploma in Basel.[8] The different standards of living of Switzerland and Guatemala sparked her interest in economics.[9] She later enrolled at the University of Basel, where she studied economics and received a Doctorate in Economics in 1993 and Habilitation in economics in 1999.

Weder di Mauro joined the International Monetary Fund as an economist in 1994 and the World Bank in Washington DC to work on the team of the World Development Report in 1996. From 1997 to 1998 she was Research Fellow-in-residence at United Nations University in Tokyo and from 1998 to 2001 associate professor of economics at the University of Basel.[10] In 2001 she became Professor of Economics, Economic Policy and International Macroeconomics at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany.[10] She has also been in a visiting position at Harvard University, the National Bureau of Economic Research and the United Nations University in Tokyo.

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