Vikram Nehru

Senior Associate
Asia Program
Bakrie Chair in Southeast Asian Studies
Nehru is a senior associate in the Carnegie Asia Program. An expert on development economics, growth, poverty reduction, debt sustainability, governance, and the performance and prospects of East Asia, his research focuses on the economic, political, and strategic issues confronting Asia, particularly Southeast Asia.


MA, MPhil, Oxford University


Vikram Nehru is a senior associate in the Asia Program and Bakrie Chair in Southeast Asian Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. An expert on development economics, growth, poverty reduction, debt sustainability, governance, and the performance and prospects of East Asia, his research focuses on the economic, political, and strategic issues confronting Asia, particularly Southeast Asia.

From 1981 to 2011, Nehru served in the World Bank, including in a number of senior management positions. Most recently, he was chief economist and director for poverty reduction, economic management, and private and financial sector development for East Asia and the Pacific. In this capacity, he advised the governments of developing countries in East Asia and the Pacific on economic and governance issues, including macroeconomic management, public sector and public financial management, financial and private sector development, and poverty reduction.

Previously, he directed the World Bank’s Economic Policy and Debt Department, where he was responsible for managing global programs for debt relief and for developing new tools and techniques for growth analytics, fiscal-policy analysis, subnational and regional development, and small-states development. In addition, he chaired the bank’s Economic Policy Sector Board, which provided strategic leadership for all of its country and macroeconomists.

In leading the World Bank’s Debt Department, Nehru managed the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative, Debt Sustainability Framework, Debt Reduction Facility, Debt Management Facility, Debt Management Performance Assessment Program, and Medium Term Debt Strategies for Developing Countries.

His portfolio at the World Bank also included serving as lead economist on Indonesia and China as well as senior economist for Ghana. Prior to joining the World Bank, he held an administrative position with the government of India.

Nehru has written numerous journal articles and contributed to several books. His papers include: “East Asia and the Pacific Confronts the ‘New Normal’”; “The Concept of Odious Debt: Some Considerations”; “When is External Debt Sustainable?”; “Indonesia in Crisis”; and “China 2020: Development Challenges in the New Century.”

  • Op-Ed Nikkei Asian Review March 28, 2014 中文
    Flight 370 Shows Southeast Asia in Unflattering Light

    The mystery and confusion surrounding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 have been the subject of intense scrutiny. The resulting portrait, of Malaysia specifically and Southeast Asia more generally, has revealed multiple deficiencies in credibility, capacity, cooperation, and trust.

  • Op-Ed Nikkei Asian Review March 5, 2014
    Indonesia Must Rise to Strengthen ASEAN

    Indonesia’s future rests with Southeast Asia, and ASEAN is at the heart of the region’s institutional architecture. If Indonesia is to shape its own geostrategic environment, then it must work with its neighbors to strengthen ASEAN.

  • Op-Ed Nikkei Asian Review February 11, 2014 中文
    America’s TPP Debacle Leaves Hamlet Without the Prince

    A U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership would not only sink the ambitious free trade agreement, it could sink America’s reputation in the Asia-Pacific.

  • Article January 24, 2014
    A New Regional Strategy for Indonesia’s Next President

    Indonesia’s future depends on a strong Southeast Asia. The country’s next leader must make strategic choices that help prepare the region for the challenges it will face.

  • Op-Ed Jakarta Globe January 17, 2014 中文
    There Still Is a Way Out of Thailand’s Crisis

    Tens of thousands have taken to the streets to protest against the government of Thailand’s prime minister. A political solution is possible, but its prospects are remote because it will take reasonableness all around to reach it.

  • Op-Ed Jakarta Globe November 13, 2013 中文
    Two Cheers for China’s Third Plenum

    If Beijing is serious in implementing the third plenum document’s central message on the decisive role of markets, then this may well prove to be a pivotal moment in China’s history.

  • Economic Priorities for Indonesia
    Article September 30, 2013
    Five Economic Priorities for Indonesia’s Next President

    Indonesia faces tough economic challenges that could slow growth over the long term. The country’s next president needs to address these issues steadily and relentlessly.

  • Article September 12, 2013
    Indonesian Democracy Is in Need of Reform

    The principles underpinning Indonesia’s democracy have begun to fray. It is time for a fresh round of democratic reforms.

  • Op-Ed Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies July 26, 2013
    Survey of Recent Developments in Indonesia

    Indonesian democracy itself is still relatively young and evolving, while the country’s macroeconomic and policy developments over the last few months have been mixed.

  • Op-Ed East Asia Forum April 23, 2013 中文
    Addressing Risks in Myanmar

    In light of the most recent bout of violence in Myanmar, it is vital that the government act quickly to heal the nation's new wounds, protect ethnic minorities, and continue the important task of nation building.

  • Indonesia Elections
    April 17, 2014 Washington, DC
    Money and Politics in the 2014 Indonesian Elections

    As campaigns have become more expensive and public funding has declined, Indonesian political parties have been forced to turn to alternative funding sources.

  • Japan-Myanmar
    February 25, 2014 Washington, DC 中文
    U.S.-Japan Strategies for Supporting Myanmar

    The political and economic transformation underway in Myanmar is an important strategic opportunity for the United States and Japan, given the country’s potential impact on the establishment of a stable and prosperous order in Asia based on democratic values and market-based economic policies.

  • February 20, 2014 Washington, DC 中文
    The Myth of ASEAN Centrality

    The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) occupies a central position in Southeast Asia’s institutional architecture. But recent challenges have cast doubt on ASEAN’s ability to provide a common strategic vision for its ten members.

  • January 24, 2014 Washington, DC
    Indonesia Votes: Processes, Actors, and Scenarios

    Indonesia—the world’s most populous Muslim nation and its third largest democracy—will head to the polls this year to elect national and local legislatures as well as a new president.

  • June 27, 2013 Washington, DC
    Is Peace Breaking Out in Southeast Asia?

    Resolving protracted subnational conflicts in Southeast Asia has been a challenge for decades.

  • June 18, 2013 Washington, DC 中文
    TPP vs. RCEP: Southeast Asia’s Trade Dilemma

    Southeast Asian countries are involved in negotiations for two very different trade agreements: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). How do they differ and which one is best for Southeast Asia?

  • May 23, 2013 Washington, DC 中文
    Economic Dimensions of U.S. Engagement with Southeast Asia

    At a time of fiscal stress at home and economic challenges abroad, the credibility and sustainability of America’s economic engagement with Southeast Asia will be central to its success.

  • May 14, 2013 Washington, DC
    Assessing Malaysia’s Election

    In a close general election on May 5, Malaysia’s ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition retained power despite securing less than 50 percent of the popular vote.

  • November 13, 2012 Washington, D.C. 中文
    Malaysia’s Performance and Prospects

    While Malaysia’s economic performance has been robust, its politics are in ferment.

  • August 28, 2012 Washington, D.C. 中文
    Indonesia's Performance and Prospects

    Indonesia—the fourth most populous nation on earth and the world’s largest Muslim country—is a vibrant, decentralized democracy that has enjoyed rapid and resilient economic growth.


Areas of Expertise

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