The Brookings Institution is pleased to announce that Nancy Birdsall—recent executive vice president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and now a senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace—is joining Brooking as a nonresident senior fellow in the Economic and Foreign Policy Studies programs. As a member of the Brookings Center for Social and Economic Dynamics, Birdsall will focus on the implications of inequality in an increasingly global economy, and on international mechanisms to respond to equity issues.
“Equity issues are central to international economic stability,” said Brookings President Michael H. Armacost. “Resolution of problems in these areas, both within and between nations, is vital, and we are very happy to have exploring these topics someone with Nancy’s broad academic grounding and impressive experience in international financial institutions.”
Said Birdsall: “I am delighted that after almost twenty years of working on policy from the inside of the multilateral development bank community—at the World Bank and the IDB—I now have an opportunity to assess the problems of global coordination from a new perspective. I look forward to collaborating closely with outstanding Brookings scholars on the dynamics of change in an increasingly complex global community.”
Birdsall served as executive vice president of the IDB from 1993 to 1998. The IDB is the largest of the regional development banks, with a current portfolio of $30 billion and annual new lending commitments of $6 billion to $7 billion to governments and private sector sponsors. At the IDB, Birdsall oversaw an increase in lending, particularly to support reform of education, health, and social security systems. She spearheaded a significant internal reorganization, including the establishment of an Office of the Chief Economist and the initiation of loans and guarantees to private sector sponsors of major infrastructure projects that do not have government support.
Prior to joining the IDB, Birdsall served as director of the Policy Research Department at the World Bank and as chief of several lending groups, including those for social and environmental operations in Latin America. She led the team that prepared the World Bank study of the East Asian “miracle” in 1993, and managed and wrote World Bank publications on health finance, privatization, and population.
Birdsall is co-editor, with Brookings senior fellow Carol Graham and Richard Sabot of Williams College, of Beyond Tradeoffs: Market Reforms and Equitable Growth in Latin America, (Brookings/IDB, 1998) and, with Fred Jaspersen, of Pathways to Growth: East Asia and Latin America (IDB, 1996). She is also the author of numerous articles on economic development issues. She has served as senior advisor to the Rockefeller Foundation and on several National Academy of Science panels, and currently is on the boards of the Population Council, the Social Science Research Council, and the International Center for Research on Women.
Birdsall holds a Ph.D. in economics from Yale University and an M.A. in international relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She and her husband David Post live with their children in Washington, D.C.