International economics graduate named deputy governor of China’s central bank

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Zhang Tao received his Ph.D. in international economics from UC Santa Cruz in 1995.

An early graduate of the international economics Ph.D. program at UC Santa Cruz has been named to a top position at China’s central bank, a move seen as a step toward a future high-level appointment to the International Monetary Fund.

China’s State Council appointed Zhang Tao, who received his masters and Ph.D. degrees from UCSC, as deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China. If he replaces Zhu Min, a current IMF deputy managing director (and previous People's Bank deputy governor), in July, as is believed, Zhang will become the second Chinese national to hold a senior position at the Washington, D.C.-based international organization.

In the early ‘90s, Nirvikar Singh, UCSC professor of economics and current director of the Center for Analytical Finance, served as Zhang’s advisor. He remembers him as “smart, hardworking, and quite charming, too.”

Zhang received his Ph.D. degree from UCSC in December 1995. His research focused on federalism in China, Singh recalled. His dissertation was titled “Fiscal Decentralization, Public Spending and Economic Growth:  the Experience in the Post-Reform China.”

“I am not surprised he has done well in his career, and I am delighted to hear the news about him,” Singh said.

Before this most recent appointment, Zhang served as director general of the Legal Affairs Department at the People's Bank of China beginning in January 2015. He was an executive director at the IMF from September 2011 to 2014. Before joining the People’s Bank in 2004, he held positions at the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank as a senior economist.

Zhang graduated from Tsinghua University in Beijing before enrolling at UC Santa Cruz.