Martin Rama is the Chief Economist for the South Asia region of the World Bank, based in Delhi, India. His main priorities are to promote debate on difficult policy issues in the region, to lead the preparation of major reports on regional issues, and to oversee the overall quality of the Bank’s analytical work in the region. To deliver on these tasks, he and his team actively engage with counterparts in government, academia, civil society and the business community.
Until October 2012 Rama was the Director of the World Development Report (WDR) 2013, on Jobs. The WDR is the annual flagship report of the World Bank, and an important publication in the area of development economics. The Jobs report built on new research, in-depth case studies and extensive consultations. It led to the compilation of a massive new database of labor indicators across countries. Over the previous eight years, until 2010, Rama was the Lead Economist for Vietnam, based in Hanoi. In this capacity, he oversaw the World Bank program in the country in areas related to economic policy and poverty reduction. He was also the focal person in the policy dialogue with government in relation to economic reforms, and led a series of annual policy lending operations co-financed by a dozen donors.
Between 2007 and 2009, he also served as the acting Country Director for the World Bank in Vietnam. Prior to moving to World Bank operations, Rama spent ten years with the research department of the World Bank, mainly in Washington DC, while providing support to a large number of developing countries. The main focus of his work was on labor issues. He co-managed a large research program on the impact of labor market policies and institutions on economic performance. He was also responsible for a research initiative on public sector downsizing. His research activities led to numerous publications in academic journals. Rama gained his Ph.D. in macroeconomics in France in 1985. Back to his home country, Uruguay, he worked in CINVE, the country’s largest think tank, and became one of its directors. In parallel with his World Bank duties, he was visiting professor in development economics at the University of Paris until 2005.