July 2, 2020

In Institutions We Trust? The Economics of Institutional Change

Showing the In Institutions We Trust? The Economics of Institutional Change Video

Both the 2008 global financial crisis and the current COVID-19 pandemic have profoundly impacted our economies and livelihoods. A global crisis affects popular trust in our institutions' capacity to deal with the challenges ahead, acting as a stress test on national and global institutions. Such crises have historically been defining moments in re-designing and improving institutions. The American Civil War and resulting debt crisis contributed to federating the United States. The human and economic ravages of World War II were key to European unification. Policy failures in the 1930s economic crisis redefined international cooperation. Poverty and other economic mutations triggered the extension of voting rights in the nineteenth century, which in turn produced a noticeable drop in inequality. 

Are we now at a similar juncture? Do we need to redesign our institutions to take on the economic and environmental challenges ahead, and how? A group of renowned academics and policymakers who each have a deep global understanding of institutions and how they have operated and evolved addressed these questions. 

This event was sponsored by Georgetown University Global Economic Challenges (GEC) Network, Université Libre de Bruxelles (Solvay), the Joint Research Center (European Commission) and the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR).


Daron Acemoglu is an institute professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of five books, including Introduction to Modern Economic Growth (2009), Why Nations Fail: Power, Prosperity, and Poverty (2012, with James A. Robinson), and The Narrow Corridor: States, Societies, and the Fate of Liberty (2019, with James A. Robinson). His academic work covers a wide range of areas, including political economy, institutions, economic development, economic growth, and inequality. He was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal in 2005, the Erwin Plein Nemmers Prize in 2012, and the 2016 BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award.

Laurence Boone is the chief economist of the OECD. She is a former AXA Group chief economist. She was also special advisor for multilateral and European economic and financial affairs and G20 Sherpa to the Presidency of the French Republic, who was in charge of managing the G20 negotiations and the relationships with EU institutions, IMF and EU Member States.

Marco Buti, former director-general for economic and financial affairs at the European Commission (DG ECFIN), is now the chief of staff of the Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni. He has been the Commission Finance Deputy at G7 and G20. A graduate of the universities of Florence and Oxford, he has been a visiting professor at various universities in Europe. He has published extensively on economic and monetary union, the political economy of European integration, macroeconomic policies, welfare state reforms and global governance. 

Mathias Dewatripont is a professor of economics at the Université Libre de Bruxelles’ Solvay Brussels School and co-author of The Prudential Regulation of Banks (1994) and Balancing the Banks: Global Lessons from the Financial Crisis (2010). He is honorary vice-governor of the National Bank of Belgium, which he represented on the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (2011-2017) and on the Supervisory Board of the European Central Bank (2014-2017). He was awarded the Francqui Prize on Social Sciences and Humanities and the Yrjö Jahnsson Award.

Shéhérazade Semsar-de Boisséson (moderator) is the CEO of POLITICO in Europe. She serves on the Advisory Board of Georgetown’s Master of Science in Foreign Service and the Board of Directors of the French- American Foundation. She also served as a member of the Georgetown University Board of Directors from 2013 to 2019. She was the founder of Development Institute International (DII),  France’s leading event promoter in the public affairs space, and was the owner and publisher of European Voice, the leading media in Brussels covering EU policy, which she acquired from the Economist Group.