Voices Against Indifference Initiative

The Jeffrey Sachs Project: Environment, Poverty and Healthcare on a Global Scale

September 2002 – April 2003



Jeffrey D. Sachs is the Director of The Earth Institute and Professor of Sustainable Development at Columbia University and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was formerly Director of the Center for International Development (CID) and Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID), and the Galen L. Stone Professor of International Trade at Harvard University. In January 2002 Professor Sachs was appointed by Secretary General Kofi Annan as his Special Advisor on the Millennium Development Goals. During 2000-2001, he was Chairman of the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health of the World Health Organization, and from September 1999 through March 2000 he served as a member of the International Financial Institutions Advisory Commission established by the U.S. Congress. Sachs serves as an economic advisor to governments in Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Former Soviet Union, Asia and Africa. He also serves as Co-Chairman of the Advisory Board of The Global Competitiveness Report, and has been a consultant to the IMF, the World Bank, the OECD, and the United Nations Development Program. In February 2002 Nature Medicine stated that Sachs “has revitalized public health thinking since he brought his financial mind to it.” He was cited in The New York Times Magazine as “probably the most important economist in the world” and in the December 1994 Time Magazine issue on 50 promising young leaders as “the world’s best-known economist.” In 1997, the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur named Professor Sachs as one of the world’s 50 most important leaders on globalization. His syndicated newspaper column appears in more than 50 countries around the world, and he is a frequent contributor to major publications such as the New York Times, the Financial Times of London, Scientific American, and the Economist Magazine.

Sachs is the recipient of many awards and honors, including membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Society of Fellows, and the Fellows of the World Econometric Society. He is a member of the Brookings Panel of Economists, the Board of Advisors of the Chinese Economists Society, and several other organizations. He received Honorary Degrees from St. Gallen University in Switzerland in 1990, the Universidad del Pacifico in Peru in 1997, Lingnan College of Hong Kong in 1998, Varna Economics University in Bulgaria, and Iona College of New York in May 2000. Professor Sachs has delivered the Lionel Robbins Memorial Lectures at the London School of Economics, the John Hicks Lectures at Oxford University, the David Horowitz Lectures in Tel Aviv, the Panglaykim Lectures in Jakarta, the Okun Lectures at Yale and many other distinguished lecture series. In September 1991 he was honored with the Frank E. Seidman Award in Political Economy, in June of 2000 he received the Bernhard Harms Prize in Kiel, Germany, and in June 2002 he was presented with the Distinguished Public Service Award of the Secretary of State’s Open Forum.

During 1986-1990, Sachs was an advisor to the President of Bolivia, and in that capacity helped to design and implement a stabilization program which reduced Bolivia’s inflation rate from 40,000 percent per year to the current rate of 10 percent per year. Sachs is also one of the architects of Bolivia’s debt buyback program of 1988, which was the first case of a debt reduction program in the 1980s, and which successfully cut Bolivia’s commercial bank debt by half. The Bolivian buyback became an important milestone in resolving the developing country debt crisis. During 1988-90, Sachs also advised the Governments of Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela on various aspects of financial reform.

In 1989, Sachs advised Poland’s Solidarity movement on economic reforms, and at the request of the Solidarity leadership, prepared a draft program of radical economic transformation. After August 1989, he advised Poland’s first post-communist government on the introduction of radical economic reforms in 1990 and 1991. In January 1999, Sachs received the Commanders Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, a high Polish national honor bestowed by the President of the Republic of Poland.

From the Fall of 1991 through January 1994, Sachs led a team of economic advisors for Russian President Boris Yeltsin on issues of macroeconomic stabilization, privatization, market liberalization, and international financial relations. He founded a non-governmental research unit, the Institute for Economic Analysis, in Moscow.

In 1991, Sachs advised the Slovene Government on the introduction of a new national currency, and in 1992, advised the Estonian government on the introduction of a new national currency. In both cases, the successful monetary reform enabled these countries to end a hyperinflation and reestablish monetary stability. During 1991-93, he also advised the Mongolian Government on macroeconomic reforms and privatization.

In 1990, Sachs met with Pope John Paul II as a member of a group of economists invited to confer with the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace in advance of the Papal Encyclical Centesimus Annus. They met again in 1999 in Sachs’ capacity as the Economic Advisor to the Jubilee 2000 movement.

In January 1998, Sachs was the first foreigner in the 43-year history of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party to be asked to deliver a keynote address at the LDP national convention.

Sachs’ research interests include the links of health and development, economic geography, globalization, transition to market economies in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, international financial markets, international macroeconomic policy coordination, emerging markets, economic development and growth, global competitiveness, and macroeconomic policies in developing and developed countries. In 1987 and 1988, Sachs directed a large-scale research project at the NBER on the international debt crisis, which is published under Sachs’ editorship in a four-volume series, Developing Country Debt and the Economic Performance, University of Chicago Press, 1989. From 1990-92 he directed a project on economic reform in the Soviet Republics and in Eastern Europe for the United Nations University, World Institute for Development Economics Research (WIDER), in Helsinki, Finland. He is now directing a major research program on global public health and economic development as Chairman of the WHO Commission on Macroeconomics and Health.

Sachs has published more than two hundred scholarly articles, and has authored or edited many books. His NBER volume, Economics of Worldwide Stagflation, co-authored with Michael Bruno, was published in 1985, and his books Global Linkages: Macroeconomic Interdependence and Cooperation in the World Economy, co-authored with Warwick McKibbin, and Peru’s Path to Recovery, co-authored with Carlos Paredes, were published by The Brookings Institution in 1991. Sachs’ textbook on Macroeconomics in the Global Economy, co-authored with Felipe Larrain, was first published in 1993, and has appeared in German, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese. His account of Poland’s reforms, Poland’s Jump to the Market Economy, was published in Fall 1993 by MIT Press. In 1994, the two volumes on The Transition in Eastern Europe, co-edited with Olivier Blanchard and Kenneth Froot, were published by the National Bureau of Economic Research and The University of Chicago Press. In 1995, Sachs published, with the BBC, a Russian-language book on Russia and the Market Economy. The John M. Olin Critical Issues Series on The Rule of Law and Economic Reform in Russia, which Sachs co-edited with Katharina Pistor, was published in Spring 1997 by Westview Press.

Sachs and his colleagues at HIID and CID have helped to produce several important global studies. Since 1996 he has led a team of economists in annually preparing The Global Competitiveness Report, in 1998 The Asian Competitiveness Report, and in 1998 and 2000, The African Competitiveness Report, with the World Economic Forum. Along with David Bloom, he coordinated a large research project culminating in the publication of Emerging Asia: Changes and Challenges by the Asian Development Bank in May 1997. In February 1997, Sachs and other experts at HIID prepared a proposal for “A New Partnership for Growth in Africa,” which has contributed to the reformulation of U.S. foreign assistance policies with regard to Africa.

Sachs was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1954. He received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Harvard College in 1976, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1978 and 1980 respectively. He joined the Harvard faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1980, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1982 and Full Professor in 1983.