Xavier Sala i Martin – Keynote Speaker

Professor of Economics, Columbia University

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Specialist Subjects

  • Competitiveness
  • Economic Development
  • Health Economics
  • Public Finances
  • Innovation
  • Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • Social Security
  • National & Global Competitiveness
  • Economic Inequality & Equality
  • Economic Growth
  • Monetary Economics


  • Spanish


Professor Xavier Sala-i-Martin is one of the world’s most respected economists and authority on global competitiveness. He is a Professor of Economics at Columbia University, and is one of the most cited economists in the world.

Prof. Sala-i-Martin is also the Chief Economic Advisor of the Competitiveness Program at the World Economic Forum, where he is the creator of the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI). Governments and business leaders from all over the world regularly use the index to evaluate and design future competitiveness policies of their nations. In 2017 he designed a new Competitiveness Index for the World Economic Forum called the GCI 4.0, as it captures many elements of the fourth industrial revolution. This replaced the index that had initially been designed by Michael Porter.

His work include the topics of economic growth, development in Africa, monetary economics, social security, health & economics, convergence, and classical liberal thinking. He has constructed an estimate of the world distribution income which he has then used to estimate poverty rates and measures of inequality. His pioneering work has been the basis of numerous independent studies on economic development and inequality.

Xavier Sala-i-Martin has taught at Yale and Harvard, and was researcher at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) in London and the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

From 2003-10 he was a member of the Board, Treasurer and briefly President of Barcelona Football Club. He participated in the creation of what many experts have called the best football team of all time. During his time, Barça won 6 championships. Known for his energetic style and stage presence, he has been repeatedly ranked as the Number 1 Professor by students and Columbia.

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