Paul Romer appointed new World Bank chief economist

Paul RomerWorld Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim on Tuesday announced the appointment of Paul Romer as the bank's chief economist. He will replace the current incumbent  Kaushik Basu who ends his term in September.

Romer, 60, a New York University economics professor and a successful entrepreneur, is a prominent voice advocating investment in human capital and innovation.

He joins the Bank at a critical time when the field of development is transforming under the forces of rapid technological change, globalisation, and demography, World Bank said in a statement.

''We're thrilled to have an economist as accomplished as Paul Romer join us,'' said Kim. ''We're most excited about his deep commitment to tackling poverty and inequality and finding innovative solutions that we can take to scale.''

''As chief economist, Romer will support the president and the senior management in leading the institution and inspiring the development profession during this time of transformative change. As leader of the Development Economics Vice-Presidential Unit, his intellectual and strategic leadership will ensure the World Bank Group remains at the forefront of international development knowledge,'' it added.

Romer is currently a professor at New York University (NYU), director of NYU's Marron Institute of Urban Management, and a professor of economics at NYU's Stern School of Business.

Early in his career, his research brought his economic ideas into the analysis of economic growth. His subsequent start-up company, Aplia, which focused on educational technology, and his more recent exploration of urbanisation as a driver of economic development both signal the breadth of his intellectual and practical interests, the staement said.

Before joining NYU, Romer taught at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. His earlier roles included professorships at the universities of California at Berkeley, Chicago and Rochester.

He is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

"For me, the most exciting part of economics is going beyond knowledge that is only potentially useful to knowledge that is actually useful, and doing so on a scale that touches millions or billions of lives,'' said Romer. ''If this is what motivates you to come into the office each day, there is no better place to work than the World Bank."

His appointment is effective September 2016.