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Elena Panaritis is an institutional economist. She has worked at the World Bank and the IMF, and is a Greek MP since 2009.

Life and career

Elena Panaritis is an institutional economist, property rights expert, and social entrepreneur. In more than a decade as an economist at the World Bank, Ms. Panaritis spearheaded several institutional reforms including property rights reform in Peru that received International Best Practice and Innovation award. Her book Prosperity Unbound: Building Property Markets with Trust (Palgrave Macmillan) recounts her experience and expounds on her methodology- “Reality Check Analysis”, which is considered one of the best practical applications of institutional economics to property rights issues. She is the founder of Panel Group, a triple-bottom-line advisory group that invests in undervalued property and provides counsel to governments and private sector participants on transforming illiquid real estate and related public policy. She now serves as an MP and a Special advisor to the Greek government, where she leads the effort for public sector reform and reduction in informality.[1] She was elected President of COMSUD (the Commission of Parliamentarians of the Mediterranean countries) in late 2009. Ms. Panaritis has taught economic development, housing finance and property markets reform courses at the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania, INSEAD, and the Johns Hopkins University - School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). She is fluent in Spanish, English, French, Italian, and has basic knowledge of German. She blogs at: www.prosperityunbound.com/blog.


As a member of the Greek Parliament she provoked a negative sensation in the public when it became known that she had declared: "I'm not Greek, I'm American" in an interview for the Guardian[2][3]. A statement which she rectified later, saying that the reporter did not transfer accurately her words. What she really said, according to her new statement in the Capital newspaper is that she is a Greek by choice who chose to return to Greece abandoning her former life in US[4] The Guardian insisted on the quote exactly as was first published and retorted that Panaritis evidently meant to use a figure of speech to describe the influences on her life as a person of the Diaspora.[5]


Elena Panaritis, author of Prosperity Unbound: Building Property Markets with Trust (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), is an institutional economist, author and social entrepreneur. She was actively called to engage in Greek politics regarding public sector reform and reduction of informality. Ms. Panaritis is also one of the pioneers of “triple-bottom-line” social entrepreneurship. She founded Panel Group, a specialized advisory group that provides counsel and technical expertise in transforming informality (illiquid real assets). The firm leverages Ms. Panaritis’ methodology and knowledge in creating stable property rights systems around the world, and applies reform techniques funded entirely through private investment. The reforms undertaken by key stakeholders produce significant social, environmental, and financial returns.

Her ideas are particularly timely, given the context of the economic crisis in Greece, the current global economic and financial crisis, and the ongoing efforts to restore growth by reforming illiquid/informal markets both in the developed and transition economies. “It is no accident that the financial crisis originated in the United States,” Ms. Panaritis explains. “The property system is built on a false assumption: that the property is valued correctly. Unless that’s fixed, the risk will always be far greater than necessary.” She continues when talking about the Greek crisis “It is also no accident that the Euro crisis started in Greece, a country that has week property rights system.”

Elena Panaritis spent years convincing policymakers, development organizations, and local stakeholders in Peru that transformation of informal property rights is possible and that it carries sustainable economic, financial and social dividends. The actual reform application though took only three years and succeeded in bringing over 9 million Peruvians into the formal economy. She has worked in numerous countries identifying informality and developed the methodology “Reality Check Analysis” as a diagnostic tool that leads to the tailored solution of transforming informality to robust formal markets. She captures that experience in her book Prosperity Unbound: Building Property Markets with Trust (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) and affirms her belief of triple-bottom-line model of social entrepreneurship as a catalyst for positive change. Ms. Panaritis was awarded the International Best Practice and Innovation award. Robert Litan, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute and Vice President for Research and Policy at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Entrepreneurship calls her work “a real contribution.”

In his Financial Times online column, Willem Buiter, an LSE professor and former chief economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development also praises Ms. Panaritis ideas and reform efforts. He singles out “useless” and “harmful” finance based on derivatives to task and writes that “effective and efficient financial intermediation is a necessary condition for prosperity.” In contrast, he refers to Ms. Panaritis’ work as “useful finance” and continues: “The world described in [Prosperity Unbound], where the foundations of a productive market economy are being put in place, appears light years removed from the world of Wall Street ...” Why you should listen to her: How does one explain persistent wealth inequality and poverty in a globalized world? For Elena Panaritis, the answer had to be as ubiquitous as the problem itself, and it had to do with property—the kind of informal arrangements within which more than 50% of the world’s population currently lives and works. As a World Bank economist in the 1990s, Ms. Panaritis grappled with the institutional dimensions of this global phenomenon, estimated at US$ 9 trillion in size, which she has come to call “unreal estate.”

Some argue that the problem of informality is essentially unsolvable, believing the root cause to be a cultural one. Through sheer determination, careful examination of institutions, and uncanny ability to sustain appetite for reform through innovative public-private partnerships, Ms. Panaritis has proven skeptics wrong.

She has developed a holistic problem solving approach into an analytical tool called “Reality Check Analysis,” considered one of the most effective practical applications of institutional economics to property rights issues in the world today.

Ms. Panaritis is the founder of Panel Group, a triple- bottom line advisory group that works in undervalued property and provides counsel to governments and private sector participants on transforming informality and related public policy.


Ms. Panaritis reform work in Peru implemented by Alberto Fujimori regime named "Fujishock", while "improving" macroeconomic figures and keeping the global financial community satisfied, led to poverty millions of people after a 10 year governance based on authoritarianism, corruption, human rights violations, mass population sterilisations and mass executions and ended failed in the year 2000 elections. [6] [7] [8]

Media articles

The official book-launch presentation at the World Bank and the official video trailer

Video of TEDx Athens 2011 talk under the theme “Starting from Scratch”.

"A Powerful Formula for Prosperity for the World's Poor – and It's Already Working” speech delivered at Freedom Fest in Las Vegas (7/11/09)

"Establishing Formal Rules such as Property Rights is a Promising Road to Sustainable Economic Growth and Peace" lecture at UCLA Center for Middle East Development (11/09/09)

Interview on Bloomberg TV “Greece Mustn’t U-Turn on Austerity Programme” (30 June 2011)

Interview on CNN “Quest Means Business” with Richard Quest (29 June 2011)

Interview on Skynews with Adam Boulton (29 June 2011)

Interview on France 24 “Can Greece be fixed?” (part 1 and part 2 on 24 June 2011)

Interview in Spanish on the Greek crisis for the Chilean TV station “Canal 13. (23 June 2011 and 7 October 2010)

Interview on Today on BBC Radio 4 “Greece not just a debt crisis” (26 June 2011)

Interview on BBC World (29 June 2011)

Interview on World this Weekend on BBC Radio 4 (26 June 2011- watch from the 11th min.)

Interview on Up All Night on BBC Radio 5 (21 June 2011)

Interview on BBC World Newshour (21 June 2011)

Tackling the Roots of the Crisis: A Proposition for Stabilizing Property Markets lecture at University of South Carolina, School of Policy, Planning, and Development (February 2010).

Unlocking Real Estate Assets lecture at Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business: (November 2009)

Radio interview at WJFF Radio Catskill NY on 'Making Waves' Show (10/05/09)

Elena Panaritis' trilogy of articles on Greece and the economic crisis at the Globalist:
Greece's Date with the Taxman
Now is Not the Time to Bet Against Greece
-The Historical Roots of Greece's Debt Crisis

And the latest articles at the Globalist:
The Way Out of Greece’s Insolvency — And Into Europe’s Future
The Path Ahead for Greece

Εlena Panaritis' article at The Guardian: 'Greece should not be forced to act alone'
OpEds by the author for the Financial Times, the Guardian, and Reuters.

Prosperity Unbound has been well-reviewed in: the Financial Times, Wharton, and INSEAD

Elena Panariti's is quoted in * 'Useless finance, harmful finance and useful finance', Financial Times Online
For more videos and interviews: Media website: http://prosperityunbound.com/media.html, Elena’s facebook page and her You Tube channel.


^ Έλενα Παναρίτη, Member of Parliament
^ http://www.real.gr/DefaultArthro.aspx?page=arthro&id=84188&catID=14
^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/01/greece-panic-change
^ http://www.capital.gr/News.asp?id=1254724
^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2011/aug/05/corrections-clarifications
^ http://www.mongabay.com/history/peru/peru-impact_of_the_fujishock_program.html
^ http://the-spark.net/np748402.html
^ http://mondediplo.com/2004/05/08sterilisation

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