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Stephen O’Connell was appointed as the USAID’s Chief Economist in early 2014. In this role, he provides expert advice to Agency leadership and staff on economic growth. As such, he guides the Agency on economics-based decision making while advancing the profile of economic analysis and sustaining economic expertise within the Agency. He is responsible for keeping USAID’s economists on the cutting edge of ideas in development economics and supporting their use of analytical tools best suited to the Agency’s mission.
Dr. O’Connell joined the USAID from the academic community, bringing extensive research and teaching experience in the political economy of Africa. Concurrent to his appointment, he sits on the faculty of Swarthmore College’s Department of Economics, where he has been since 1990, as the Gil and Frank Mustin Professor of Economics.
Much of Dr. O’Connell’s career has been spent working and advising on macroeconomic policy and economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Since 2009 he has been focusing on monetary policy in low-income countries, including Tanzania and the East African Community. In 2013, he served as a Visiting Scholar at the IMF, where he worked on low-income economies in the Research Department and the Strategy, Policy and Review Department.
He received his undergraduate degree from Oberlin College and his PhD in Economics from MIT.
Last updated: October 14, 2014