Prof. Varadarajan V. Chari
B.Tech., 1974, Chemical Engineering

Prof. Varadarajan V. Chari is Paul Frenzel Land Grant Professor of Liberal Arts in the University of Minnesota and advisera t the Federa l Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. He is also the Founding Director of Heller-Hurwicz Economics Institute. He earned his B.Tech. degree in Chemical Engineering from IIT Bombay in 1974 and PhD degree from Carnegie – Mellon University in 1980.

After graduating from IIT Bombay, Prof.Chari worked as a Production Engineer at Union Carbide (India) Limited from 1974 to 1976. After completing his Ph.D. degree from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1980, he joined the J. L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University as an assistant professor of managerial economics. In 1986 he moved to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis where he eventually became senior research officer and economic advisor. In 1992 he returned to the Kellogg Graduate School of Management as Harold H. Hines, Jr. Professor of Risk Management.


Sharing his professional experience, Prof. Chari said “When I graduated from IIT, I joined Union Carbide in Bombay and was a Production Engineer at their ethylene cracking plant for two years. Even though I had never taken any economics courses at IIT, somehow I was admitted to the economics program at Carnegie. That was a stroke of luck since Carnegie was the hotbed of modern macroeconomics at the time. My adviser, Edward Prescott went on to win the Nobel Prize, as did Lars Hansen who was also on my committee, and Robert Townsend, also on my committee, is on most people’s short list to win the prize. My first job after that was at the Kellogg school at Northwestern. That was a stroke of luck too, as Kellogg was a hotbed of game theory. One of my colleagues there has won the Nobel Prize, and others will soon as well. Eventually, I ended up at the best economics department in the world, Minnesota!”

Prof. Chari is regarded as one of the leading economists analyzing optimal fiscal and monetary policy. He has authored over 100 papers and a book. Several of his papers are required reading in the best graduate schools across the world. He has invented solution concepts in economics including ‘Sustainable equilibrium, and Sophisticated equilibrium’, which are now part of the standard toolkit of economists seeking to describe optimal policy. Prof. Chari has taught over 1000 Ph.D. students in economics, and served as principal adviser to approximately 100 Ph.D. students. The Institute ‘Heller Huwicz Economics Institute’ founded by Prof. Chari at the University of Minnesota has raised over $15 million to support economic research. Prof. Chari has many awards andhonours to his credit which include: Fellow, Econometric Society (1999); Scholar of the College, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota (2008-11); President of the Midwest Economics Association (2006-07); and has been invited to deliver 25 Keynote Addresses.

Special Memories

"A small group of us at IIT launched the first Mood Indigo Festival in the early 1970s. We never dreamed that it would be the grand event of today! In between Workshop and Fluid Mechanics, I somehow found the time to participate in debates and quiz bowls. We managed to get gold medals in both the Inter IIT competition twice. I still have fond memories of Professors Kamath and Patwardhan, and many others in the faculty, and especially fond memories of the wonderful friends I made. The memories of the food in the mess halls is perhaps not so pleasant!"