About the Authors
Michele Ruta, Team Leader and Lead Economist, Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment
Michele Ruta is Lead Economist in the Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment Global Practice of the World Bank Group, where he leads the work program on regional integration. He had previous appointments at the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and the European University Institute. Michele has published in refereed journals such as the Journal of International Economics and contributed to many policy reports, including the World Trade Report of the WTO and the World Development Report of the World Bank, on international and regional integration issues. He holds a PhD in economics from Columbia University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Rome “La Sapienza”.
Matias Herrera Dappe, Senior Economist, Transport
Matias has worked in the field of infrastructure and economic policy for more than 15 years, focusing on the economics of infrastructure investment, particularly transport, performance benchmarking, competition, and auctions. Before joining the World Bank, he worked in consulting and think tanks advising governments and companies in Latin America, North America, and Europe. He has written extensively on the topics mentioned. He holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Somik Lall, Lead Economist, Social, Urban, Rural, & Resilience
Somik V. Lall is the World Bank’s Global Lead on Territorial Development Solutions and its Lead Economist for Urban Development in Africa. Somik heads a World Bank global research program on urbanization and spatial development and previously founded the Urbanization Reviews program. He is a recognized expert on development policy related to urban and territorial competitiveness, agglomeration and clusters, infrastructure, and impact evaluation, with over 18 years’ global experience, most notably in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. He was a core team member of the World Development Report 2009: Reshaping Economic Geography, Senior Economic Counselor to the Indian Prime Minister’s National Transport Development Policy Committee, and Lead Author of the World Bank's flagship report Planning, Connecting, and Financing Cities Now as well as Africa's Cities: Opening Doors to the World.
Chunlin Zhang, Lead Private Sector Specialist, Finance, Competitiveness & Innovation
Chunlin Zhang is a Lead Private Sector Development Specialist in the World Bank Group. He joined the Bank in 1999 and has since worked on countries in the East Asia and Pacific Region and the Africa Region. He led numerous World Bank analytical and advisory activities in areas including private sector development, state owned enterprises reform, public service reform, innovation and entrepreneurship, economic diversification and inequality, and authored an extensive range of reports and policy papers for client countries. Chunlin Zhang studied economics in Nankai University and Peking University in China and holds a Ph.D. in economics from the China Academy of Social Sciences.
Cristina Constantinescu, Economist, Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment
Cristina Constantinescu is an Economist in the Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment Global Practice of the World Bank Group. She had previously held positions at the International Monetary Fund and in the Research Department of the World Bank. Her work experience and interests encompass areas such as international trade in goods and services, trade policy, international migration. Her publication record includes articles in the Journal of International Economics, the Journal of Development Economics, the Review of Economics and Statistics and the World Bank Economic Review. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium
Mathilde Lebrand, Economist, World Bank Infrastructure Chief Economist's Office
Mathilde has been working on the Belt and Road Initiative, economic corridor development, and connectivity. Previously she worked for the Europe and Central Asia Chief Economist office and contributed to several upcoming regional studies. Her research focuses on economic geography, international trade and global value chains, networks, and political economy. She has taught at the University of Montreal and has worked at the World Trade Organization in Geneva. She is a Research Fellow at the Center for Economic Studies ifo Institute (CESifo). She holds a PhD in economics from the European University Institute.
Alen Mulabdic, Analyst, Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment
Alen Mulabdic is working on issues related to international trade and macroeconomics with a focus on regional integration. Alen holds a Ph.D. Economics from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva (Switzerland) and an undergraduate degree from the University of Siena (Italy). His recent research concentrates on the impact of deep forms of trade integration, the trade effects of the diffusion of new technologies, and the consequences of large transport infrastructure projects, such as the Belt and Road Initiative. Alen has also worked on the interplay between trade shocks and civil conflicts, trade barriers in government procurement markets, and the trade impact of Brexit. His work has been cited, among others, in the Economist, Financial Times, and Guardian.
Erik Churchill, Consultant, Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment
Erik Churchill is a consultant in the Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment Global Practice, where he advises the trade unit on operations, strategy and advocacy. He rejoined the World Bank Group in 2018 and has previously held positions at the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank. He has contributed to several World Bank analytical and advisory activities, including the Unfinished Revolution, Bringing Opportunity, Good Jobs and Greater Wealth To All Tunisians. His work on political economy has been published in the Washington Post, Foreign Policy and the Carnegie Endowment for Peace. He holds an MA in International Development from the George Washington University.