Vikram Nehru

Vikram Nehru

Distinguished Practitioner-in-Residence
International Economics
International Development
Southeast Asia Studies

Office: R721


  • China
  • East Asia
  • India
  • Myanmar
  • South Asia
  • Southeast Asia
  • Debt Sustainability
  • Development Economics
  • Emerging Economies
  • Global Trade
  • Governance
  • Growth
  • Poverty Reduction

Background and Education

Vikram Nehru is an expert on development economics, growth, poverty reduction, debt sustainability, governance, and the performance and prospects of East Asia.  His research focuses on the economic, political, and strategic issues confronting Asia, particularly Southeast Asia.
From 2011 to 2016, Nehru was the Chair in Southeast Asian Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he continues to serve as a Non-Resident Senior Fellow.  Prior to that, Nehru served in the World Bank, including in a number of senior management positions. His last position there was chief economist and director for poverty reduction, economic management, and private and financial sector development for East Asia and the Pacific. In this capacity, he advised the governments of developing countries in East Asia and the Pacific on economic and governance issues, including macroeconomic management, public sector and public financial management, financial and private sector development, and poverty reduction.
Before moving to the World Bank’s East Asia Region, Nehru was the Director of the World Bank’s Economic Policy and Debt Department, where he was responsible for managing global programs for debt relief and for developing new tools and techniques for growth analytics, fiscal-policy analysis, subnational and regional development, and small-states development. In addition, he chaired the Bank’s Economic Policy Sector Board, which provided strategic leadership for all of its country and macroeconomists.
In leading the World Bank’s Debt Department, Nehru managed the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative, Debt Sustainability Framework, Debt Reduction Facility, Debt Management Facility, Debt Management Performance Assessment Program, and Medium Term Debt Strategies for Developing Countries.
His portfolio at the World Bank also included serving as lead economist on Indonesia and China as well as senior economist for Ghana. Prior to joining the World Bank, he held an administrative position with the government of India.
Nehru’s articles have appeared in numerous journals, he has contributed to several books, and has written many op-eds and opinion pieces for leading newspapers, journals, and think-tanks. Examples of his papers and reports include: “New Estimates of Physical Capital Stock: Estimates, Methodology, and Results;” “The Concept of Odious Debt: Some Considerations;” “When is External Debt Sustainable?” “Indonesia in Crisis;” “China 2030: Building a Modern, Harmonious, and Creative Society;” and “Indonesia: The Reluctant Giant.”

2015-10-05 00:00:00 
Fall 2017 
This course, co...
This course, co-taught with Ambassador Robert Blake, examines the dynamics of power, business, politics and economic growth in Indonesia. The course begins with a review of modern Indonesian history, its political, social and economic development, and the multiple crises that have brought chaos and opportunity to the world’s most populous Muslim state. It examines contemporary Indonesian politics and Indonesia’s complex relationships with global capital markets, international financial institutions and donors.

09-05-2017 to 12-11-2017 | Th 02:00 PM - 04:30 PM
Fall 2017 
This course is ...
This course is designed to familiarize students with Southeast Asia’s dramatic rise from modest beginnings after the Second World War to a dynamic, rapidly growing region deeply integrated with the global economy and with close economic ties to its giant neighbors, especially China. The course will also highlight Southeast Asia’s many economic fault lines – notably rising inequality, weak governance, and a spotty environmental record, and it will examine the economic challenges facing the region as many of its members strive to avoid the middle income trap and become high income economies. Students will learn basic economic concepts and how they can be applied to yield powerful insights into Southeast Asia’s past economic performance and its future prospects. By the end of the course, students should be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of the forces that powered Southeast Asian economic performance in the past and those that are likely to shape its future. 

09-05-2017 to 12-11-2017 | M 02:00 PM - 04:30 PM
Spring 2018 
Myanmar (Burma)...

Myanmar (Burma) is in the process of a challenging transition—from a centralized, authoritarian, military-run political system to a pluralistic “disciplined-flourishing democracy;” from a socialist, then dirigiste economy to one more market oriented and open to foreign investment; from a society characterized by personalized power to institutional norms; from centralized media and social control to one more open; from a single dominant ethnic group to a more multicultural system; and from a skewed foreign policy to a more balanced approach to international affairs. This attempt at transition, in less than half a decade, is virtually unprecedented in Asia. Such a complex set of changes is difficult, inviting a clash of vested interests, historical memories, foreign pressures, and advocacy and resulting in asynchronous growth and change. Myanmar/Burma: Challenges of Transition explores the nature of these challenges, their likely trajectories, the roles of foreign pressures and planning, and the lessons that might be drawn from such a complex process.

The course objectives are:

  1. To understand the internal and external dynamics of political, socio-economic, and security change in a Southeast Asian democratizing state.

  2. To examine the nature, process, and inherent difficulties of Myanmar/Burma’s democratic transition.

  3. To research and write an original paper on the challenges of transition in Myanmar of sufficient quality to merit submission to an academic journal. The course will be taught by a team of specialists on Myanmar.

*This is a cross-listed course that can fulfill a requirement for International Development and Conflict Management.

01-29-2018 to 05-05-2018 | M 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM