Two Booth professors appointed to Group of 30

Two Booth professors will serve on an international body of economists and financial thinkers.

By Jennifer Standish

Booth School of Business professors Raghuram Rajan and Axel Weber will soon be representing the University in the global economic community through their appointments to the Group of Thirty, an international body of economists and financial thinkers.

Weber, a visiting professor of economics, and Rajan, the Eric J. Gleacher Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at Booth, were chosen for their experiences in both economic academia and policy making. Rajan also serves as an economic adviser to the Indian Prime Minister and was chairman of the International Monetary Fund from 2003 to 2007. Weber was recently offered a position in the financial industry as the Chairman of the Union Bank of Switzerland.

“The group aims to deepen the understanding of international economic and financial issues by drawing on the experience of a range of senior public and private sector practitioners, academics and policymakers,” Weber wrote in an e-mail.

According to Sunil Kumar, dean of the Booth School, the appointments will be beneficial to both the international discourse and the quality of education at the University.

“First, this will allow our representatives to influence debate and policy in a substantial way. Second, some of the ideas discussed at the meetings may find its way into our classrooms and into conversations with other faculty members who will then bring it into their classrooms,” he wrote in an e-mail.

Rajan and Weber expect that their participation in G30 will give their teaching an edge of real-world policy-making. “I usually draw heavily on current events in financial markets,” Weber wrote. “Discussions within the Group of Thirty will help me in assessing these developments from a broader and balanced perspective.”

Rajan, the author of the bestseller Fault Lines, agreed.

“Almost any new experience which makes you think differently can be brought into the classroom,” Rajan said. “Just today, we were talking about the European crisis. I think discussions of the kind that we have in the Group of Thirty will help improve my understanding, and what I bring to the classroom.”

Kumar said that the appointments will also benefit the University’s outward image. “Being represented on the G30 will also help raise the visibility of the University and Booth not only among committee members, who include senior participants from the public and private sectors and academia, but also in the international economic and financial spheres at large,” Kumar wrote.

Rajan and Weber’s appointments exemplify the non-academic expertise of the University’s faculty in their fields, according to Rajan. “It helps convey the reality that the faculty at the University is very much engaged in national and international discourse,” Rajan said. “We are not sitting in an ivory tower. We are not only thinking, but communicating our thinking in policy debate.”