Simeon Djankov

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Simeon Djankov
Simeon Djankov.jpg
Simeon Djankov at World Economic Forum, Tianjin, China, September 13, 2010
Vice Premier Minister
In office
July 27, 2009 – March 13, 2013
Finance Minister
In office
July 27, 2009 – March 13, 2013
Preceded by Plamen Oresharski
Personal details
Born (1970-07-13) 13 July 1970 (age 44)
Lovech, Bulgaria
Spouse(s) Caroline Freund
Alma mater University of Michigan
Website Official blog: (Bulgarian) www.simeondjankov.com

Simeon Djankov (Bulgarian: Симеон Дянков, Simeon Dyankov; born 13 July 1970) is a Bulgarian economist. He was the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Bulgaria in the government of Boyko Borisov. Prior to his cabinet appointment, Simeon Djankov was a Chief economist of the finance and private sector vice-presidency of the World Bank. In his fourteen years at the World Bank, he worked on regional trade agreements in North Africa, enterprise restructuring and privatization in transition economies, corporate governance in East Asia, and regulatory reforms around the world. Simeon Djankov was a principal author of the World Development Report 2002. He was an associate editor of the Journal of Comparative Economics from 2004 to 2009. Djankov was a chairman of the board of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He is also a member of the Knowledge and Advisory Council at the World Bank. In 2013 he was appointed rector of the Russian New Economic School.

Biography[edit]

Genealogy[edit]

Simeon Djankov comes from an old line of political leaders. Among his predecessors was Radi Popmihov, a revolutionary for Bulgarian freedom from Ottoman rule who established revolutionary committee in Novo Selo in 1872, alongside Vasil Levski. During the April Uprising in 1876 Popmihov was imprisoned together with Zahari Stoyanov and later hanged. Radi Popmihov's time in prison is described in one of the significant historical books of Stoyanov, Memoirs of the Bulgarian Uprisings, in the chapter on Turnovo. Simeon Djankov's great-great-grandfather Miho Minkov was representative in the first five National Assemblies after the Liberation, beginning with the first Constitutive Assembly which wrote the Constitution and the first Grand National Assembly which appointed Bulgarian knjaz, Alexander of Battenberg.[1] He was elected to represent the Sevlievo region and played important role in forming of then Bulgarian constitutional monarchist rule (Bulgaria is now republic).

Education[edit]

Born in Lovech, Bulgaria on 13 July 1970, Djankov attended high school "Ekzarh Yosif I" in Lovech (1984–89). In 1989, he passed the entrance exam to the formerly named "Karl Marx Institute of Economics" (today University of National and World Economy) with the highest scores nationally. Simeon Djankov also holds a 1997 doctorate from the University of Michigan, on the topic "Three Essays on the Economics of Transition." His main thesis advisor was Alan Deardorff.

Academic career[edit]

During his tenure at the University of Michigan and the World Bank Dr Djankov has published over 70 articles in professional journals. Journals include the American Economic Review, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Journal of Political Economy, the Journal of Finance, the Journal of Financial Economics. He has also co-edited the book "Resolution of Financial Crises," with Stijn Claessens and Ashoka Mody.

Ideas 42[edit]

In June 2008, Djankov established the think-tank Ideas42, jointly with Antoinette Schoar (MIT Sloan), Eldar Shafir (Princeton) and Sendhil Mullainathan (Harvard), a Harvard University-International Finance Corporation venture.[2] The think tank applies the latest analysis to studying the economic lives of the poor, the development of small businesses, and access to finance. Several projects are co-sponsored with the Gates Foundation and the Institute for Financial Management and Research in India.

Harvard Kennedy School[edit]

After resigning from the government of Boyko Borisov, Simeon Djankov joined the Harvard Kennedy School as visiting faculty. His teaching is focused on the politics of development.[3] During his time as Harvard, Dr Djankov edited a special issue of the Journal of Comparative Economics on the 25th anniversary from the start of transition in Eastern Europe. Jointly with Anders Aslund at the Peterson Institute, he also co-authored a book on the transformation from communism. [4]

New Economic School[edit]

On 2 October 2013 RIA news agency announced that the Board of Directors of private Moscow-based university New Economic School (NES) also known as the Russian Economic School has approved Simeon Djankov as its rector.[5] The New Economic School has Russia's premier economics graduate program, which had produced over 350 PhD economists since 1993. It is privately funded. In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama was the commencement speaker. In subsequent years, he was followed by Leszek Balcerowicz, Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, Israeli Central Bank Governor Stanley Fischer and Czech President Vaclav Klaus.

Career in finance[edit]

Work in Georgia[edit]

In 1997, Simeon Djankov participated in a World Bank enterprise restructuring project in Georgia. For the next year, the project surveyed most of the manufacturing enterprises in Georgia, identifying those with good export opportunities.

Since 2004, after the Rose Revolution, Simeon Djankov has visited Georgia frequently and worked with the government on reforming the business environment. Zurab Nogaideli, prime minister between 2005 and 2007, won a Reformer of the Year award in 2007. Djankov has worked closely with Kakha Bendukidze, the main architect of Georgia's economic reforms.

The World Bank's Doing Business project[edit]

Simeon Djankov has had a long and distinguished career at the World Bank, starting in 1995. He worked in over 100 countries, including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Macedonia, Moldova, Paraguay, Slovakia, Slovenia and Yemen.

Ease of Doing Business Index

Simeon Djankov is the creator of the annual Doing Business report, the top-selling publication of the World Bank Group. The report came out of joint research work with Professor Andrei Shleifer at Harvard University, and was inspired by Djankov's experience in overly-regulated socialist economies. Since its initial publication in November 2003, Doing Business has generated 60,000 media citations, and over 300,000 copies sold. The Doing Business report recently had its 10th annual book published.

Political career[edit]

Minister of Finance of Bulgaria[edit]

On 27 July 2009, Simeon Djankov became Minister of Finance of Bulgaria. Minister Djankov reduced budget spending and managed to cut the budget deficit for 2009 to 4.4%. In 2010 it met the Maashtricht criteria - 3%, falling to 2% in 2011 and 0.45% in 2012.[6] On December 1, 2009, Standard&Poors upgraded Bulgaria's investment outlook from "negative" to "stable," the only country in the European Union to receive an upgrade that year.[7] In January 2010 Moody's followed with an upgrade of its rating perspective from "stable" to "positive," and a year later upgraded it one notch - Bulgaria being the only European Union member with an upgrade during 2008-2012.

On numerous occasions, Minister Djankov stated that two successive terms are needed to complete the reforms that would lead Bulgaria from poorest to middle-income country by Central European standards.[8] Soon after, Parliament adopted the so-called Golden Rules in the organic budget law: the government cannot surpass a deficit of 2% of GDP and a debt-to-GDP ratio of 40% in any given year. While Djankov a member of the GERB cabinet, Simeon Djankov was not a party member.[9]

At the second GERB party congress Djankov urged delegates to lead such policies that the party wins a second term with full majority in parliament. This is needed, he said, to complete the reforms that would lead Bulgaria from poorest to middle-income country by Central European standards.[10] Soon after, Parliament adopted the so-called Golden Rules in the organic budget law: the government cannot surpass a deficit of 2% of GDP and a debt-to-GDP ratio of 40% in any given year. Djankov believes in his role as an expert rather than a politician and even though he is a member of the GERB cabinet, he is not a member of the GERB party.[11]

Djankov was the second-youngest finance minister in the European Union, after the UK's George Osborne. He champions low taxes as a way to come out of the global economic crisis. In May 2012, he became Chair of the Supervisory Board of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). This is the first time the Chair is held by a finance minister from the former socialist bloc. In June 2012 Simeon Djankov has been invited to join the World Bank Knowledge Advisory Council.[12]

Djankov championed low taxes as a way to come out of the global economic crisis. In May 2012, he became Chair of the Supervisory Board of the EBRD. This is the first time the Chair is held by a finance minister from the former socialist bloc. In June 2012 Simeon Djankov has been invited to join the World Bank Knowledge Advisory Council.[13]

On February 18, 2013 Djankov was asked to resign in relation to the decision by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov to advance subsidies to farmers.[14] On February 20, 2013, PM Borisov announced the resignation of the government due to increasing levels of violence in the protests high electricity prices.[15][16] Djankov hence continued to serve as finance minister until a caretaker government was formed on March 13.

Deputy Prime Minister[edit]

As Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Djankov was responsible for the reforms in the public administration, healthcare, higher education, and pensions.

In July 2010, the results of the first year of administrative reform were reported. The number of public officials was reduced by 11%, and the number of government institutions by 8%. This is the first time since the fall of communism that administrative reform has resulted in an actual optimization in government. In 2012 since the beginning of his term the number of public officials was reduced by 15%, and the number of government institutions by 9%. Also, the new Law on Public Officials (adopted by Parliament in April 2012) introduced a unified pay scale for all public servants, annulled 72 special laws that previously gave special treatment to some categories of public servants, and eliminated the annual bonus for seniority. Under the new law pay depends fully on merit. The latter change met stiff opposition by the labor unions who have repeatedly called for Dr Djankov's resignation. In 2012, another part of the administrative reform started: moving some government agencies from the capital city to other regional hubs. The first two government decrees moved the headquarters of the tourism directorates to Plovdiv, and the Agency for Fisheries to Burgas. The rationale for this decentralization is to spread the administrative capacity in Bulgaria more evenly, and to link university education with the needs of the administration.

Views on Eurozone Crisis[edit]

Djankov's views on the Eurozone crisis are presented in a number of publications, and summarized in a recent article.[17] He is also working on a book on the subject titled Inside the Euro Crisis.[3] The main argument is that Europe needs a frank discussion about competitiveness.

Foreign relations[edit]

His attitude and wording concerning Russia has become famous for his firmness. On September 27, 2012 he stated that if needed Russian nuclear-power companies would be slammed in the talks about future possible building of nuclear plant at Belene if their conditions were not satisfactory for Bulgaria.[18] As deputy prime minister, Simeon Djankov was also responsible for canceling the oil-pipeline project connecting the ports of Burgas and Alexandroupolis.

At the same time, as minister Djankov was supportive of easing Russian tourism into Bulgaria and increasing cultural ties. For example, on January 23, 2013, during a visit to Moscow he stated that in fact „Bulgaria bets on Russian investment“. He also added that Bulgaria would grant visas to Russians at the border which contradicts EU conventions and politics for the visa regime with Russia. [19] The visa regime was in fact eased after Djankov's intervention, so that Russian tourists who already have Schengen visas were no longer required to obtain Bulgarian visas. The same new rule applies for citizens of Turkey and Ukraine.

Hobbies[edit]

Antique[edit]

Djankov has a passion for antique and old historic and finance books, history of Bulgarian finance, etc.

Archaeology[edit]

While in the Bulgarian government, Dr Djankov started an ambitious program for restoring cultural heritage sites from the Thracian, Roman and early Bulgarian history.[citation needed] Together with Bozhidar Dimitrov, director of the National Historical Museum (Bulgaria), the state invested in over 80 archaeological sites.[20] Simeon Djankov was called once "Bulgaria's Top Archaeologist" by a fellow minister.[21] In 2012, he received the title of Honorary Citizen of Sozopol.

Family[edit]

Djankov is married to the World Bank economist Caroline Freund, and has two children. His father-in-law is the theoretical physicist Peter Freund of the University of Chicago.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Simeon Djankov's grandfather was a MP in five Assemblies (Bulgarian), Standart, 27 March 2012
  2. ^ Handicapping the John Bates Clark Medal The Wall Street Journal April 12, 2012
  3. ^ a b New Faculty Feature: Adjunct Lecturer Simeon Djankov, Kennedy School, Harvard, July 24, 2013
  4. ^ The Great Rebirth: Lessons from the Victory of Capitalism over Communism
  5. ^ Bulgaria's Ex-Finance Minister Djankov Appointed Rector of Private University in Moscow
  6. ^ Crime Crackdown Boosts Budget Crackdown in Bulgaria The Wall Street Journal Jan 12, 2010
  7. ^ Standard & Poor's Upgrades Bulgaria's Outlook to Stable
  8. ^ Bulgaria Ruling Party GERB Eyes Second Term, Clear Majority, January 10, 2010
  9. ^ Bulgaria Finance Minister Rejects Presidential Bid Rumors, May 2, 2010
  10. ^ Bulgaria Ruling Party GERB Eyes Second Term, Clear Majority, January 10, 2010
  11. ^ Bulgaria Finance Minister Rejects Presidential Bid Rumors, May 2, 2010
  12. ^ Bulgaria's FinMin to Join World Bank Knowledge Council, Novinite, June 11, 2012
  13. ^ Bulgaria's FinMin to Join World Bank Knowledge Council, Novinite, June 11, 2012
  14. ^ Protests Pressure Bulgarian Government The Wall Street Journal Feb 19, 2013
  15. ^ Bulgaria Government Quits The Wall Street Journal Feb 20, 2013
  16. ^ After Bulgarian Protests, Prime Minister Resigns The New York Times Feb. 20,2013
  17. ^ Europe Needs a Smarter Austerity Debate The Wall Street Journal April 17, 2013
  18. ^ Bulgaria Lashes Out at Russia over Increased Belene NPP Claim, SNA, September 27, 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-29.
  19. ^ (Bulgarian) Djankov is warming our chilled relations with Russia, January 23, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-29.
  20. ^ A Sainted Discovery The Economist Aug. 19, 2010
  21. ^ Rashidov calls Dyankov "Bulgaria's Top Archaeologist"

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]