Lazar Milivojevic, World Bank

“Working with the Modelbase gave me a better economic intuition”

Before taking up a position within the World Bank in February 2021, Lazar Milivojević was a research and teaching assistant at the IMFS for almost four years. During that period, he also visited the World Bank in Washington D.C. and European Stability Mechanism in Luxembourg. Lazar defended his Ph.D. dissertation in December 2021 at the Graduate School of Economics, Finance, and Management (GSEFM) at Goethe University. A Serbian citizen, he earned a B.Sc. in Economics and an M.Sc. in Quantitative Analysis from the University of Belgrade. Lazar’s research interests lie in the area of applied macroeconomics.

How would you describe your job to other people?

I am a part of the World Bank’s South Asia Region Chief Economist (SARCE) Office macroeconomic team. Our main product, South Asia Economic Focus (SAEF), aims to provide a high-quality update on economic developments, a near-term outlook, and in-depth analyses of key economic challenges in the region. My work entails monitoring regional trends and potential risks, performing different empirical analyses, and relying on structural models to provide scenarios comparison. In addition, I participate in the Climate Change and Development Report (CCDR) macroeconomic chapter that focuses on the economic implications of climate change in Bangladesh and associated adaptation and mitigation policy measures.

What do you like most about your job?

Essentially, my job allows me to work on policy-relevant issues while further developing methodological skills I have developed throughout my Ph.D. studies. I particularly appreciate that combination of strong research and applied policymaking environment, along with the possibility to provide policy guidance. Last but not least, the World Bank’s quest to end poverty through sustainable and inclusive growth is an inspiring goal that I would like to contribute utmostly.

What was the main focus of your research at the IMFS?

Primarily, I was working on the further development of the Macroeconomic Model Data Base (MMB). That gave me a good overview of a large set of structural macroeconomic models and their applications. In parallel, I worked on the papers that formed the chapters of my dissertation. One part of my research examined the real equilibrium interest rates (r*) dynamics, given its strong policy implications. Another was centered on fiscal policies that lower labor costs as a means to re-ignite growth in euro area economies facing subdued prospects.

How is your job at the World Bank related to your work at the IMFS?

The job at the IMFS put me in a frontier of macroeconomic research. Working on the MMB gave me a broader perspective on macroeconomic modeling, but also a better economic intuition. Additionally, attending the IMFS lectures and conferences helped me to stay up to date with the latest advances in the field and topical policy issues. That turns out to be pivotal to my work at the World Bank.

What did you enjoy most regarding your time at the IMFS?

The IMFS provided a very stimulative research environment. Besides an opportunity to participate in the IMFS events, teach, and have applied work for the MMB, I benefited enormously from the collaboration with the other colleagues, many of them now being friends and co-authors.