March 6th, 2012

Nouriel Roubini

I strongly support the candidacy of Jeffrey Sachs for the Presidency of the World Bank.  I have had a special vantage point to see Sachs in action at close range for nearly thirty years, since my graduate student days at Harvard when he was my advisor, and then as professional colleague and co-author of research.  He is, I believe, the right person for this job, especially at this complex juncture for the world economy and for the development challenges that we face.

Sachs knows his stuff, as thoroughly as any development expert in the world.  He has worked all over the world at the highest levels, on complex tasks, whether fighting poverty and disease in Africa, or helping Eastern Europe to recover economically after decades of Soviet domination.  In every assignment, he operates with professionalism, comprehensive knowledge, and integrity.  He wins the trust of leaders to undertake needed reforms.  His track record of successful stabilizations, debt workouts, market reforms, disease control programs, agriculture productivity initiatives, infrastructure development, and growth strategies, reflects the breadth of his knowledge and track record.  He is an effective manager as well, whether of reform programs or of international development organizations such as the Earth Institute.   He is also a leading and prolific academic scholar in the field of international economics and development economics, writing hundreds of papers on these topics and authoring several seminal academic, policy and general audience books.

This is an important time for development expertise at the helm of the World Bank.  The challenges facing the Bank are enormously complicated and require vision, development experience in many parts of the world, and strong management abilities.  Sachs can also call upon his exceptional global network of leaders in the sciences, business, government, and civil society.  His successful leadership of the Earth Institute is an example of his ability to lead a complex organization and its affiliated institutions in important cross-disciplinary activities and projects.

The Bank has many deep structural problems and only modest financial resources relative to the scale of the development tasks.  The Bank therefore needs someone at the top who will inspire the professional staff and who can help mobilize large private-sector flows alongside existing resources, in order to fight diseases, grow more food, make economies resilient to climate shocks, and build a twenty-first century infrastructure.  Sachs can do these things better than anyone I can think of.

He is also a true team player who listens carefully to advice and different points of views while at the same time being a leader who can energize, guide and bring passion to any project he gets involved in: anyone who has interacted and worked with him knows how nuanced, sophisticated and sensible – while thought-provoking – his views are and how he can effectively use diplomacy, negotiations and dialogue to achieve consensus and concrete results on important policy issues.

Sachs has long promoted the goals of a stable, peaceful, cooperative and prosperous world, and would strongly support the broad global strategy of recovery and growth through expanded world trade.  He will also help to prevent future climate shocks from derailing the world economy.  For all of these reasons, I am delighted that Sachs is ready to take on the challenge of leading the World Bank.  I strongly recommend him without any hesitation. Sachs is the right person at the right time to lead the World Bank.

–Nouriel Roubini, Professor of Economics, Stern School of Business, New York University; Chairman, Roubini Global Economics



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