Tuesday, June 25, 2024

196 Justin Yifu Lin
Chief Economist - The World Bank Group

Justin Yifu Lin was appointed as World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President in 2008. He is the first Chinese citizen to take up a top position at the World Bank. He was appointed by World Bank president Robert Zoellick to the position on June 2, 2008, after serving for 15 years as Professor and Founding Director of the China Centre for Economic Research (CCER) at Peking University.

While Lin has argued that the government's first duty is to remove all possible obstacles to the functioning of free, open and competitive markets, he also advocates a gradual approach in transitioning from a centralized to a market-based economy.

Lin is undertaking an ambitious research program that examines the industrialization of rapidly developing countries and sheds new light on the causes of lagging growth in poor regions.

Among his public roles in China, he served as a deputy of China’s People’s Congress. He has served on several national and international committees, including: the Eminent Persons Group of the Asian Development Bank; the National Committee on United States-China Relations; the Hong Kong-U.S. Business Council; the Working Group on the future of the OECD; and the Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee.

He is famous in China, (and his native Taiwan) for defecting from the Taiwanese army (of which he was an officer) in 1979 and swimming 2.3 kilometres across the Taiwan straits from Quemoy to defect to mainland China. It was an inevitability, he said, for a Chinese national at the time. He was later reunited with his family, and later studied economics at the University of Chicago, from which he received his PhD in economics in 1986.