Washington’s new chief economist to discuss state’s future

PULLMAN – The economic health and future of Washington State will be the subject of a free universitywide address by the new executive director of the Washington Economic and Revenue Forecast Council. The public address will be at 3:30 p.m., Thursday, April 8, in Johnson Hall C107.
Arun Raha, who earned his doctorate in economics at WSU, was appointed to his new post late last year, succeeding former executive director Chang Mook Sohn. Raha will meet informally with WSU students during his April visit in addition to giving the university-wide presentation entitled, “Washington State’s Economic and Revenue Outlook.”
“The state of Washington is indeed very fortunate to have its economic forecasting in the hands of such a highly accomplished and capable economist as Dr. Raha,” said Ron Mittelhammer, WSU Regents Professor and director of the WSU School of Economic Sciences.
Born in New Delhi, India, Raha studied economics and received his master’s degree from the Delhi School of Economics. In 1985, he decided to move to the U.S. to study economics at WSU.
After graduating, Raha moved around the country, going from one success to another. After earning his doctorate in 1990, he joined the economics department at Boise State University. In addition to his teaching duties, he worked on forecasting both the general fund revenues for the Idaho Legislature and the personal income tax receipts for the Idaho Tax Commission.
From Idaho, Raha went into the private sector. In the late 1990s, he was director of the Asia Service at the world’s leading economic and information consulting firm, Wharton Economic Forecasting Associates (now Global Insight Inc.). He later was hired as manager of economic analysis at Eaton Corp., a global diversified industrial manufacturer. While at Eaton, Raha served on the Ohio governor’s Council of Economic Advisers.
In 1995, he joined Swiss Re, the world’s largest reinsurer, as vice president for economic research and consulting in New York. He was responsible for forecasting North American macroeconomic, financial and property-casualty insurance markets for the Swiss company.
For his efforts, Raha received the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s top overall forecast prize in 2007, as well as the Wall Street Journal’s forecasting award in January 2005.
Raha now serves on the Wall Street Journal’s Economic Forecasting Panel, and his economic forecasts have been included in Business Week, Bloomberg Business News, Reuters and Consensus blue chip forecasts.