Olivier Blanchard

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Olivier Blanchard
Oliver Blanchard, IMF 98BlanchardWEO1 lg.jpg
Oliver Blanchard October 8, 2008 IMF
Born (1948-12-27) December 27, 1948 (age 66)
Amiens, France[1]
Nationality French
Institution International Monetary Fund (Chief Economist 2008-2015)
Harvard University
Field Macroeconomics
School or tradition
New Keynesian economics
Alma mater

ESCP Europe

Paris Dauphine University
Influenced Jordi Galí
Gilles Saint-Paul
Luigi Zingales
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Olivier Jean Blanchard (French: [blɑ̃ʃaʁ]; born December 27, 1948) was the chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, from September 1, 2008[3] to October 2015.[4][5][4] He was appointed to this position under the tenure of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. He is also the Robert M. Solow Professor of Economics at MIT. At the IMF, he will be succeeded by Maurice Obstfeld.[6]


Blanchard is one of the most cited economists in the world, according to IDEAS/RePEc.[7]

Blanchard graduated from ESCP Europe in 1973 and also earned a first degree at Paris Dauphine University. He obtained a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT in 1977. He taught at Harvard University between 1977 and 1983, after which time he returned to MIT as a professor.[8] Between 1998 and 2003 Blanchard served as the Chairman of the Economics Department at MIT. He has also been an adviser for the Federal Reserve banks of Boston and New York.

Blanchard has published numerous research papers in the field of macroeconomics, as well as undergraduate and graduate macroeconomics textbooks.

In 1987, together with Nobuhiro Kiyotaki, Blanchard demonstrated the importance of monopolistic competition for the aggregate demand multiplier.[9] Most New Keynesian macroeconomic models now assume monopolistic competition for the reasons outlined by them.

He is a fellow and past Council member of the Econometric Society, a past vice president of the American Economic Association, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His current position of service at the International Monetary Fund is as Economic Counsellor and director of Research.[10]

International Monetary Fund[edit]

During Blanchard's tenure as Chief Economist he reshaped IMF policies. During the Great Recession Blanchard supported global fiscal stimulus. During its slow recovery he urged a cautious removal of stimulus and advocated quantitative easing.[11]

Austerity v. Stimulus debate[edit]

By 2010, following the financial crisis, many countries ran significant budget deficits. There was a global turn to austerity as economists encouraged governments to cut spending and raise taxes to avoid becoming another Greece.[12] In June 2010 Blanchard and Carlo Cottarelli, the director of the IMF's fiscal affairs department co-authored an IMF blog post entitled "Ten Commandments for Fiscal Adjustment in Advanced Economies."[13]

By 2011 Paul Krugman noted that Blanchard was already "suggesting that harsh austerity programs may be literally self-defeating, hurting the economy so much that they worsen fiscal prospects."[14] By 2012 every country that had introduced "significant austerity" suffered economically. Blanchard issued "what amounted to a mea culpa."[12] According to Paul Krugman, "the IMF now believes that it massively understated the damage that spending cuts inflict on a weak economy."[12]


Under Blanchard's tenure at IMF, Jonathan D. Ostry and Andy Berg published their findings that "inequality was detrimental to sustained growth."[15][16] By April 2014 in the World Economic Outlook Blanchard situated inequality as a "central issue" for "macroeconomic developments."[16]

" as the effects of the financial crisis slowly diminish, another trend may come to dominate the scene, namely rising inequality. Though inequality has always been perceived to be a central issue, until recently it was not seen as having major implications for macroeconomic developments. This belief is increasingly called into question. How inequality affects both the macroeconomy, and the design of macroeconomic policy, will likely be increasingly important items on our agenda for a long time to come."

— Olivier Blanchard World Economic Outlook April 2014


  1. ^ "Olivier Blanchard's CV", Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Economics, nd, retrieved 3 October 2015 
  2. ^ "Olivier Blanchard Contact Information", Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Economics, nd, retrieved 3 October 2015 
  3. ^ "Blanchard Sees Global Economy Weathering Financial Storm", International Monetary Fund, 2 September 2008 
  4. ^ a b Pearlstein, Steven (2 October 2015). "The smartest economist you’ve never heard of". Washington Post. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  5. ^ "IMF Economic Counsellor and Director of Research Olivier Blanchard To Retire from the Fund" (International Monetary Fund; May 14, 2015).
  6. ^ IMF (20 July 2015). "IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde Appoints Maurice Obstfeld as Economic Counsellor and Director of the IMF’s Research Department". Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  7. ^ Economist Rankings at IDEAS
  8. ^ Asia 21 Bio
  9. ^ Blanchard, Olivier Jean; Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro (1987). "Monopolistic Competition and the Effects of Aggregate Demand". American Economic Review 77 (4): 647–666. JSTOR 1814537. 
  10. ^ economics.mit.edu
  11. ^ Loungani, Prakash (2 October 2015). "The Frenchman Who Reshaped the IMF Reflections on the work of Olivier, the IMF’s now retired chief economist". The Globalist. Washington, DC. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  12. ^ a b c Krugman, Paul (29 April 2015). "The case for cuts was a lie. Why does Britain still believe it? The austerity delusion by Paul Krugman". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  13. ^ Blanchard, Olivier; Cottarelli, Carlo (24 June 2010). "Ten Commandments for Fiscal Adjustment in Advanced Economies". iMFdirect. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  14. ^ Krugman, Paul (21 December 2011). "Olivier Blanchard Isn’t Very Serious". The Conscience of a Liberal. New York Times. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  15. ^ Berg, Andrew G.; Ostry, Jonathan D. (8 April 2011). "Inequality and Unsustainable Growth: Two Sides of the Same Coin?" (PDF). International Monetary Fund. p. 20. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  16. ^ a b "IMF: rising inequality is an increasingly important issue". The Guardian (UK). 8 April 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
Business positions
Preceded by
Simon Johnson
IMF Chief Economist
2008 – 2015
Succeeded by
Maurice Obstfeld (designated)