Olivier Blanchard
Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund
In office
1 September 2008 – 8 September 2015
PresidentDominique Strauss-Kahn
Christine Lagarde
Preceded bySimon Johnson
Succeeded byMaurice Obstfeld
Personal details
Olivier Jean Blanchard

(1948-12-27) 27 December 1948 (age 75)
Amiens, France
EducationESCP Business School (BA)
Paris Dauphine University (MA)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (PhD)
Academic career
InstitutionPeterson Institute for International Economics (since 2015)
International Monetary Fund (2008–2015)
Harvard University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
School or
New Keynesian economics
Stanley Fischer[1]
Fumio Hayashi
Nobuhiro Kiyotaki
Roland Bénabou[2]
Michael C. Burda[3]
Ricardo J. Caballero[4]
Jordi Galí[5]
Anil Kashyap[6]
Gilles Saint-Paul[7]
Janice Eberly[8]
Charles I. Jones[9]
David Laibson[10]
Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas[11]
Robert Shimer[12]
Augustin Landier[13]
Justin Wolfers[14][15]
Thomas Philippon[16]
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Olivier Jean Blanchard (French: [blɑ̃ʃaʁ]; born December 27, 1948)[17] is a French economist and professor who currently serves as the Robert M. Solow Professor Emeritus of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and as the C. Fred Bergsten Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.[18] He was the chief economist at the International Monetary Fund from September 1, 2008, to September 8, 2015.[19][20][21] Blanchard was appointed to the position under the tenure of Dominique Strauss-Kahn; he was succeeded by Maurice Obstfeld.[22] According to IDEAS/RePEc, he is one of the most cited economists in the world.[23]

Blanchard has also authored an undergraduate macroeconomics textbook, appearing so far in eight editions, which is one of the most widely used economics books at the undergraduate level, and in 1989 a graduate-level textbook (together with Stanley Fischer), which was prominent in its time.


Blanchard graduated from ESCP in 1970.[24] From 1970 to 1973, he completed graduate level courses in economics and applied mathematics at Paris Dauphine University and Paris Nanterre University.[25] He obtained a PhD in economics from MIT in 1977 and then taught at Harvard University between 1977 and 1983, after which time he returned to MIT as a professor.[26] His areas of expertise in macroeconomics are the functions of monetary policy, the role of speculative bubbles, the determinants of unemployment and the role of the labor market as a whole, the effects on countries who have transitioned away from communism, and the factors that have sparked the most recent global financial crises. Between 1998 and 2003 Blanchard served as the chairman of the economics department at MIT.

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.[27] 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, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

International Monetary Fund

During his tenure as chief economist, Blanchard's 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.[28]

Austerity v. stimulus debate

By 2010, following the financial crisis, many countries ran significant budget deficits. There was a global turn to austerity as Washington Consensus economists encouraged governments to cut spending and raise taxes to avoid a government debt crisis, as occurred in Greece.[29] 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."[30]

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."[31] Krugman thinks that by 2012, every country that had introduced "significant austerity" had suffered economically, and that Blanchard had issued "what amounted to a mea culpa."[29] According to Krugman, "the IMF now believes that it massively understated the damage that spending cuts inflict on a weak economy."[29] On the other hand, the IMF under Blanchard in 2014 was forced to admit that it had overestimated the negative effects of austerity – the IMF had warned of low growth because the British government did not spend enough, but in the end, the British economy grew much larger than the IMF had predicted. IMF-head Christine Lagarde apologized to the British government for the mistake.[32][33]


Under Blanchard's tenure at IMF, Jonathan D. Ostry and Andy Berg published their findings that "inequality was detrimental to sustained growth."[34][35] By April 2014, in the World Economic Outlook, Blanchard situated inequality as a "central issue" for "macroeconomic developments."[35]

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


Blanchard has authored two textbooks in macroeconomics:[36] A seminal[37] advanced textbook for graduate students "Lectures on macroeconomics" in 1989[37] together with Stanley Fischer, which has been called a gold standard for its era by the American Economic Association,[38] and the intermediate-level undergraduate textbook simply called "Macroeconomics". The first edition of "Macroeconomics" appeared in 1996,[39] and in 2021 its eighth edition appeared, published by Pearson Education. In a survey of 65 leading economics departments in 2021, Blanchard's textbook was the most widely used undergraduate macroeconomics textbook of all, not least because of its popularity in European universities, followed by Greg Mankiw's in second place.[39]


  1. ^ Blanchard, Olivier (1977). Two essays on economic fluctuations (Ph.D.). MIT. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  2. ^ Benabou, Roland Jean-Marc (1986). Optimal price dynamics, speculation and search under inflation (Ph.D.). MIT. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  3. ^ Burda, Michael C. "CV" (PDF). Humboldt University of Berlinn. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 February 2017. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  4. ^ Caballero, Ricardo J. (1988). The Stochastic Behavior of Consumption and Savings (PDF) (Ph.D.). MIT. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  5. ^ Galí, Jordi (1989). Essays on macroeconomics (Ph.D.). MIT. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  6. ^ Kashyap, A. K. (1989). Price setting and investment : models and evidence (Ph.D.). MIT. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  7. ^ Saint-Paul, Gilles (1990). Essays on labor markets and macro-economic activity (Ph.D.). MIT. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  8. ^ Eberly, Janice Caryl (1991). Durable goods and transactions costs : theory and evidence (Ph.D.). MIT. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  9. ^ Jones, Charles I. (1993). Time Series Tests of Endogenous Growth Models (Ph.D.). MIT. hdl:1721.1/12701. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  10. ^ Laibson, David Isaac (1994). Hyperbolic Discounting and Consumption (PDF) (Ph.D.). MIT. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  11. ^ Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier (1996). Essays on exchange rates, and consumption (Ph.D.). MIT. hdl:1721.1/10830. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  12. ^ Shimer, Robert (1996). Essays in search theory (Ph.D.). MIT. hdl:1721.1/10832. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  13. ^ Landier, Augustin (2001). Essays on entrepreneurship, venture capital and innovation (PDF) (Ph.D.). MIT. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  14. ^ Wolfers, Justin. "CV" (PDF). NBER. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  15. ^ "RePEc Genealogy page for Justin Wolfers". RePEc Genealogy. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  16. ^ Philippon, Thomas (2003). Three essays in macroeconomics (PDF) (Ph.D.). MIT. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  17. ^ "Olivier Blanchard's CV", Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Economics, nd, retrieved 3 October 2015
  18. ^ "Olivier Blanchard Contact Information". Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Economics. nd. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  19. ^ "Blanchard Sees Global Economy Weathering Financial Storm", International Monetary Fund, 2 September 2008
  20. ^ Pearlstein, Steven (2 October 2015). "The smartest economist you've never heard of". Washington Post. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  21. ^ "IMF Economic Counsellor and Director of Research Olivier Blanchard To Retire from the Fund" (International Monetary Fund; May 14, 2015).
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ Economist Rankings at IDEAS
  24. ^ Alumni, ESCP Europe. "ESCP Europe Alumni - Hall of Fame". www.escpeuropealumni.org. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  25. ^ "Olivier Blanchard, professeur d'économie au MIT - EuropUSA". EuropUSA (in French). Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  26. ^ Asia 21 Bio
  27. ^ Blanchard, Olivier Jean; Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro (1987). "Monopolistic Competition and the Effects of Aggregate Demand". American Economic Review. 77 (4): 647–666. JSTOR 1814537.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ Blanchard, Olivier; Cottarelli, Carlo (24 June 2010). "Ten Commandments for Fiscal Adjustment in Advanced Economies". iMFdirect. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  31. ^ Krugman, Paul (21 December 2011). "Olivier Blanchard Isn't Very Serious". New York Times. The Conscience of a Liberal. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  32. ^ Armitstead, Luise (6 June 2014). "IMF accepts it was wrong on George Osborne's austerity". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  33. ^ Kennedy, Simon (9 June 2014). "Lagarde Says IMF 'Got It Wrong' on Rallying U.K. Economy". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  34. ^ 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.
  35. ^ a b "IMF: rising inequality is an increasingly important issue". The Guardian. UK. 8 April 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  36. ^ "Olivier Blanchard | PIIE". www.piie.com. 2 March 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  37. ^ a b "New fund, old fundamentals". The Economist. 30 April 2019. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  38. ^ "Stanley Fischer, Distinguished Fellow 2013". www.aeaweb.org. American Economic Association. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  39. ^ a b Courtoy, François; De Vroey, Michel; Turati, Riccardo. "What do we teach in Macroeconomics? Evidence of a Theoretical Divide" (PDF). sites.uclouvain.be. UCLouvain. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
Diplomatic posts Preceded bySimon Johnson Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund 2008–2015 Succeeded byMaurice Obstfeld Academic offices Preceded byAlvin E. Roth President of the American Economic Association 2018 Succeeded byBen Bernanke