Paul Romer at the World Bank: a re-assertion of US influence?

When Paul Romer became the Chief Economist of the World Bank last month, reactions from the media were largely positive. However, to Helmut Reisen, former head of research at the OECD Development Centre, Romer’s ascendancy reflects the unfortunate reversal of a welcome practice of appointing the World Bank’s Chief Economists from emerging economies (at least in terms of heritage if not necessarily in terms of institutional affiliation) as Justin Lin and Kaushik Basu were. It is likely, as Reisen suggests, that one is witnessing the re-assertion of US influence on a major multilateral institution. Perhaps this is a reaction to the putative influence of countries from the BRICS, most notably China, as new sources of development finance.

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