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 August 18, 2014
    A New Approach to Problem-solving in the South China Sea

    The probability is growing that a relatively minor incident in the proximity of an unimportant, remote and barren islet in the East China or South China seas could plunge Asia, and perhaps even the world, into another confrontation.

  • Op-Ed Deutsche Welle August 6, 2014 中文
    Kerry Seeking Common Ground Within a Divided ASEAN

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will attend several summits in Southeast Asia in a bid to ease regional tensions with China. However, expectations on any breakthrough should be tempered.

  • Article July 17, 2014 中文
    The BRICS Bank: Now Comes the Hard Part

    The BRICS bank is good news for developing countries. If done right, it could change the landscape for multilateral development financing.

  • Op-Ed Nikkei Asian Review July 14, 2014
    Indonesia’s Maturing Democracy Faces Its Sternest Test

    Tensions between the presidential candidates will test not only Indonesia’s democratic institutions but also the democratic credentials of its leaders and their followers.

  • Op-Ed Nikkei Asian Review June 27, 2014
    How Will Indonesia’s Next President Bend the Arc of History?

    In the upcoming elections, Indonesians will not merely be choosing between two very different leaders. They will be choosing between two very different futures.

  • Paper June 5, 2014
    Banking on Myanmar: A Strategy for Financial Sector Reform

    Myanmar’s government needs a reform strategy that supports the financial sector’s rapid development while ensuring its stability, efficiency, and accessibility.

  • Op-Ed Nikkei Asian Review May 19, 2014 中文
    Myanmar Should Move Cautiously in Welcoming Foreign Banks

    Opening its financial system to foreign participation can bring many benefits to Myanmar, but a phased approach would be better than rapidly opening the floodgates to foreign investment in banking.

  • Op-Ed Milken Institute Review May 17, 2014
    Thailand, Unraveling

    Thailand can’t move forward without fresh elections, which are scheduled for July, yet it can’t seem to hold them either. And its electoral dysfunction is causing economic as well as political paralysis: GDP is hardly growing.

  • 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.

  • Diplomat June 2, 2014
    Understanding Thailand’s Coup

    Thailand’s coup is rooted in the clash between the rising voice of the rural poor and the established power of the Bangkok elite. The resolution of this clash will determine the character of Thai democracy.

  • Indonesian presidential candidates
    July 8, 2014
    Indonesia Votes: Twitter Q&A with Vikram Nehru

    Indonesian presidential candidates Prabowo Subianto and Joko Widodo both have the capacity to bend Indonesia’s arc of history—but each in a different direction.

  • June 23, 2014 Washington, DC 中文
    Economic Prospects in Post-Election Indonesia

    On July 9 Indonesians will go to the polls to elect their next president for a five-year term, after a decade of steady—albeit recently slowing—growth.

  • June 18, 2014 Washington, DC 中文
    The Challenge of Political Legitimacy in Southeast Asia

    In Southeast Asia, political dynamics appear to be outrunning political institutional frameworks. Although Thailand is the obvious case, political systems in other Southeast Asian countries, such as Malaysia and Singapore, are also under strain.

  • April 24, 2014 Washington, DC 中文
    Will Indonesia’s Election Results Complicate Its Future?

    Indonesia’s recent legislative election results were not as clear cut as opinion polls forecasted. Will this mean a splintered parliament and a coalition government that struggles to enact much-needed reforms? Or could a decisive win in the presidential elections give Indonesia’s next leader a clear political mandate for change?

  • 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?


Areas of Expertise

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