NUI Galway economist appointed advisor to IMF
Prof Alan Ahearne is former special advisor to late Fianna Fáil minister Brian Lenihan
Prof Alan Ahearne, a former advisor to the late Brian Lenihan, has been appointed an external advisor to the IMF. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
Prof Ahearne, who was special advisor to the late finance minister Brian Lenihan for two years, will work with the IMF’s strategy, practice and review department on how it can support some 180 economies around the world to boost growth and create employment.
He is currently preparing a report with Sir Paul Collier of Oxford University and former Bank of Ghana governor Dr Paul Acquah on areas where the IMF’s advice on “macro-critical structural issues” can be improved.
Prof Ahearne, who is retaining his post at NUIG, explained that the IMF conducts a triennial review.
“This examines how it has performed and what issues have arisen,”he said.
“While the IMF is known for its macro advice, most of its work involves surveillance, particularly in areas of structural reform,”he added. “As part of this, they invite external experts.”
Prof Ahearne said that he was taking the post as an “important juncture for the IMF and the global economy”
“The priority of governments around the world is to revive growth,”he said.
“But with the overhang of imbalances leaving little room for expansionary macroeconomic policies, the only remaining policy options are structural.”
Prof Ahearne, who worked as senior economist at the US Federal Reserve Board in Washington DC for seven years, joined the J E Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUIG in 2005, and took up the post with the late Mr Lenihan from March 2009 to 2011.
He is a member of the Commission (board) of the Central Bank of Ireland, and is a non-resident fellow at Bruegel, the Brussels-based think tank, and a visiting executive lecturer in the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia.
He has taught economics at Carnegie Mellon University, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, and the University of Limerick, has worked for the Bank of Ireland, and began his professional career with Coopers & Lybrand.