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June 17, 1962 |
Cabrera de Mar, Spain
Sala-i-Martin earned his degree from the Autonomous University of Barcelona in 1985 and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1990, both in economics. In addition to working at Columbia, he has been a professor at Yale University, Harvard University, and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona (which he still visits for a term every summer).
Professional work 
Sala-i-Martin is one of the leading economists in the field of economic growth and is consistently ranked among the most-cited economists in the world for works produced in the 1990s. His works include the topics of economic growth, development in Africa, monetary economics, social security, health and economics, classical-liberal thinking — with his book Liberal economics for non-economists and non-liberals (the "liberal" in the title should be understood in the classic liberal/libertarian sense) — and convergence.
He has constructed an estimate of the World Distribution of Income, which he has then used to estimate poverty rates and measures of inequality. The conclusions of this study offered a new point of view for two reasons. First, the United Nations and the World Bank used to believe that, although poverty rates were falling, the total number of poor people was increasing. Sala-i-Martin claimed that both were falling. Second, the United Nations and the World Bank used to (and still do) believe that individual income inequalities were on the rise. Sala-i-Martin claimed they were not.
He is the author of the economic growth textbook Apuntes de Crecimiento Economico (in Spanish) and the co-author (with Robert Barro) of the textbook Economic Growth (original in English; translated into French, German, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese).
Sala-i-Martin is, along with Elsa V. Artadi, the author of the Global Competitiveness Index, used since 2004 by the Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum, an index that ranks 142 countries by their level of economic competitiveness.
He is a columnist for the Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia.
He makes weekly appearances in the Catalan Radio Network RAC1 as well as in the television show Divendres of TV3. He is very mediatic and also popular in Spain for his loud blazers.
He usually supports the point of view of Catalan independentism.
Activities besides economics 
Sala-i-Martin was a board member at FC Barcelona and treasurer of the club between 2004 and 2010. He was the president of the club during the electoral process of 2006.
Sala-i-Martin is the founder of Umbele: A Future for Africa, a non-profit organization that promotes economic development in Africa.
Sala-i-Martin has been recognized with a "Distinguished Teacher in Graduate Economics" award three times, at Columbia and Yale; with the King Juan Carlos I prize 2004 (a biannual prize given to the best economist in Spain and Latin America); and the Lenfest Prize 2006 awarded to the best teacher at Columbia University.
- March 2010, with Maxim Pinkovsky (Cambridge): African Poverty is Falling ... Much Faster than you Think!, NBER Working Paper Nr. 15775, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Mass., USA
- Interview on Catalan Television were Sala-i-Martin tells that his only citizenship is the American one. In tv3.cat (Catalan)
-  100 Most-Cited Researchers in Economics, ISE Essential Science Indicators, 2002
-  Worldwide Rankings of Economists and Economics Departments, Tom Coupe, 2002
-  Global Inequality Fades as the Global Economy Grows, Heritage.org, Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2002
- Xavier Sala-i-Martin and Elsa V. Artadi, The Global Competitiveness Index, Global Competitiveness Report, Global Economic Forum 2004