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Dennis de Tray

Former Vice President for Special Initiatives

Application and implementation of development assistance; political economy of development assistance; development policy; East and Central Asia; economics of human development.


Ph.D., Economics, University of Chicago, 1972


Dennis joined CGD in February 2006, as the Center's first vice president. In this role, he had three broad responsibilities: to work with the president to shape CGD's future, to strengthen ties between CGD and communities of interest and influence in the development arena, and to work with CGD colleagues to develop new lines of business. His own work focuses on issues of corruption and governance, institution building in weak and fragile states and how to increase the effectiveness of the multilateral system of development assistance.

Dennis brought to CGD extensive management and research experience coupled with a decade and a half on the front lines of development assistance delivery. Before joining CGD he directed the World Bank's Mission for the five central Asian republics from Almaty, Kazakhstan. Previously he served as IMF senior representative for Vietnam in Hanoi and before that as World Bank country director in Indonesia resident in Jakarta. He earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago in 1972.

Dennis's first job was as a researcher at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica working on US welfare issues, but it was during a two-year leave-of-absence from RAND spent at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics in Islamabad that he discovered his real calling: understanding and promoting economic development in low income countries. He left RAND in 1983 to join the World Bank as chief of its Living Standards Measurement program. The survey methodology developed under Dennis's guidance remains the standard for poverty measurement in the World Bank and in a number of other international organizations. Following a stint as Administrator for the World Bank’s centrally funded Research Program, Dennis moved to the Latin American operations complex where he was responsible for programs in Bolivia, Colombia and the Dominican Republic. In 1994 he accepted the first of what was to become a series of overseas assignments with the Bank and the IMF. Over the course of 12 years he was Director, Resident Staff and then Country Director in Jakarta, Indonesia (5 years), Senior Representative for the IMF in Hanoi, Vietnam (2 years) and Country Director for the five Central Asian Republics (4 years).

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