M-RCBG Senior Fellow-Led Study Group: George Chouliarakis and Megan Greene

The current crisis will leave large swathes of the world economy with large fiscal imbalances and mounting sovereign debt, raising the risk of a new global wave of debt overhangs and defaults and a 'lost decade' of slow growth and economic instability. What are the key drivers of public debt sustainability? How do organizations such as the IMF assess a country's debt sustainability risks and what are the main policy recommendations for addressing them? What have we learnt from recent episodes of debt crises? And, importantly, how can governments and international financial institutions mitigate the long-term economic damage of the pandemic? 
Join M-RCBG Senior Fellows George Chouliarakis (former finance minister of Greece) and Megan Greene (former market participant) for a series of seminars on the political economy of sovereign debt. 

Session #1: Overview of sovereign debt crisis
Tuesday, February 9, 4:30-5:30pm
Watch the Zoom recording HERE

What causes sovereign debt crises, how can we detect one is coming, and what do we do about it; a discussion of essential concepts and definitions of sovereign debt sustainability; the IMF debt sustainability analysis framework; and a critical assessment of key policy options for addressing debt sustainability.

Session #2: Case study 1- The Greek Debt Crisis 2010-18: Successes, Mistakes and Policy Lessons
Thursday, February 11, 4:30-5:30pm

Watch the Zoom recording HERE

Between 2010 and 2015, Greece experienced the worst recession in postwar European history and came twice close to a sovereign debt default and a disorderly exit from the eurozone. Three bailout programs - led by the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund - and two debt restructurings later, Greece finally turned the corner, regained market access, and laid the foundations for a sustained economic recovery. Where did it all go wrong? What might have been done differently? What worked in the end? And what lessons can be learned for the design of future bailout programs? Join George Papaconstantinou (former Greek minister of finance 2009-11 and minister of environment, energy, and climate change 2011-12), George Chouliarakis (former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers 2015-19, interim minister of finance and alternate minister of finance 2015-19) and Megan Greene (former market participant, euro crisis expert) for an in-depth look at the Greek debt crisis and what lessons can be drawn from it.

Session #3: Case study 2- Argentina 20 years after the 2001 default: economic policy lessons for the future
Thursday, February 18, 4:30-5:30pm

Watch the Zoom recording HERE

Argentina's recent economic history has been marked by significant economic volatility and two major financial crises that each led to a sovereign debt default. What were the key factors that led to the crises and defaults of 1998-2001 and 2018-2020 and could these crises have been averted? What are the global policy lessons one could draw from them and, importantly, what is the outlook for Argentina going forward?  

Join Vladimir Werning (former undersecretary of economic policy coordination and analysis (2017-18), former chief of economic advisors of the Ministry of Finance of Argentina (2016), and former JP Morgan chief economist for Latin America), George Chouliarakis (former finance minister of Greece) and Megan Greene (former market participant) for an in-depth discussion of the policy lessons drawn from the economic history of Argentina 20 years since the 2001 default.

George Chouliarakis outside informal head shotGeorge Chouliarakis was the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers of Greece from February 2015 to July 2019 and the Alternate Minister of Finance of Greece - responsible for fiscal policy, the government budget, medium-term fiscal strategy, and public debt – from August 2015 to July 2019. From May to August 2015 he served as head of the technical negotiations for Greece that led to the Third Economic Adjustment Programme, an agreement that prevented Greece’s disorderly exit from the European Monetary Union. He subsequently served as interim Finance Minister in the run up to the elections of September 2015. Since then and until the parliamentary elections of July 7th, 2019, he had a pivotal role in guiding the economy through one of the most challenging times in its modern history. He oversaw the design and successful implementation of the fiscal consolidation program 2015-2018, which restored fiscal policy credibility and enabled Greece to regain market access. He also conducted the technical negotiations for Greece that led to the vital debt relief agreement of June 2018. He served as a member of the Eurogroup Working Group (EWG), an alternate member of the Eurogroup, a member of the Board of Directors of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), and a member of the Economic Policy Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Prior to assuming his policy-making duties, he taught macroeconomics, international economics and economic history as a tenured faculty member of the University of Manchester and, previously, of the University of Essex. He holds a BSc in Economics from the University of Athens, an MSc in Economics from the University of London and a PhD in Economics from the University of Warwick. As a Senior Fellow, his research will focus on the role of fiscal policy in coping with future large shocks (project title: Preparing for future shocks: lessons from the global financial crisis for fiscal policy and the EMU). His faculty sponsor is Jason Furman, Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. His email is:  gchouliarakis@hks.harvard.edu

Headshot photo of Megan GreeneMegan Greene has been a leading voice in global macroeconomics on both sides of the Atlantic for the past 15 years. She was previously the Global Chief Economist at Manulife/John Hancock Asset Management, where she was responsible for forecasting global macro trends and providing analysis to support the firm’s investment teams around the world. Prior to working at Manulife, Megan ran her own London-based economics consulting practice, Maverick Intelligence, serving global private sector clients as well as a number of governments and central banks. Megan cut her teeth as an international economist by covering Europe through the depths of the euro crisis, first at the Economist Intelligence Unit and then running the European research team at Roubini Global Economics. She first became renowned for her coverage of the euro crisis in 2008, when she correctly predicted a Greek government bailout and eventual debt write down. A leading expert on the euro crisis, her views were widely sought on the German, Irish, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Cypriot and German economies as well. Additionally, she advised both the UK House of Commons and House of Lords on the Brexit referendum. Megan writes a monthly column on global economics for the Financial Times and has written frequently for Politico, Bloomberg View and Foreign Affairs. She regularly appears as an expert on global macroeconomics on Bloomberg TV and radio, CNBC, CNN, NPR, the BBC and Sky News. She is a member of the board of directors of the National Association for Business Economists, the Parliamentary Budget Office in Ireland, Rebuilding Macroeconomics and Econofact. Megan is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves as an Affiliate of the Rhodes Center for International Economics and Finance at Brown University, a Non-Resident Fellow at Trinity College Dublin and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the German Marshall Fund. She was the first female member of the centuries-old International Club of Business Economists and has taught seminars on sovereign debt crises and global macroeconomics at Princeton University, Brown University, the European University Institute and Trinity College Dublin. She regularly advises governments and central banks in the US, UK, eurozone and Japan. She holds BA in Political Economy from Princeton University and a MSc in European Studies from Nuffield College, Oxford University. As a Senior Fellow, her research is entitled, Narrowing the Gap: Theory vs Reality for Drivers of Inequality. Her faculty sponsor is Karen Dynan, Professor of the Practice of Economics at the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Email: megan_greene@hks.harvard.edu