12 June, 2018 09:39

World Renowned Economist Daron Açemoglu Ready to Help Armenia’s Government    

World-renowned economist Daron Açemoglu expressed his readiness to support Armenia’s government in the country’s development, democratization and reforms.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan held a video conference with Daron Açemoglu, an economist who is on the faculty of MIT.  Representatives of the Prime Minister's economic team also took part in the video conference.

The economist emphasized that it is time to initiate reform of political institutions and improve the justice and financial systems as well as the investment climate.

Açemoglu underlined the importance of the checks and balances mechanism in the government that would prevent the return of the damaging processes of the past,  transparency, and allow the public to oversee the government's actions.

"As a result of the steps the current government’s taking, citizens feel more involved in politics. Many people in Armenia are really excited and really want to get involved in  politics," Açemoglu said.

Last month, only a few days after becoming prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan spoke by telephone with Açemoglu, who had promised to visit Armenia and share his thoughts with the new Armenian government.

Açemoglu is the co-author of Why Nations Fail, a bestselling book that identifies and analyzes linkages between economic development and political development. According to the authors, political institutions are more important for development than geography, natural resources or other conditions. Açemoglu presents several examples to back up his claims, including North and South Korea -- who share many commonalities but differ in the workings of their institutions.

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Açemoglu is Armenian, from Istanbul.  He is third on the list of "Favorite Living Economists Under Age 60" in a 2011 survey among American economists. In 2015 he was named the most cited economist of the past 10 years.

Ironically, in March 2016, then President Serzh Sargsyan visited MIT and spoke on Armenia's development, citing Açemoglu's theory that institutions are critical to the development of a country. Yet Sargsyan had recently overseen constitutional changes that enabled him to complete his presidential term and then take on the prime ministerial position, with no term limits. 

Açemoglu himself was not present at the meeting at MIT. Later in a conference sponsored by the USC Institute of Armenian Studies, he stated that the Diaspora should not legitimize the regime in Armenia through its actions. 

Now, after the Velvet Revolution in Armenia, Daron Açemoglu expresses willingness to assist the government in institutional development.

Zara Poghosyan