News from 2008 

December 30, 2008 -
New York Times

Right now, every group claims that every intervention "works," and it’s hard to distinguish the wheat from the chaff. Randomization and rigorous evaluation are expensive so they often aren’t funded by aid organizations. The best work on that isn’t being done within the aid world but by academics at MIT, in the Poverty Action Lab there.

December 30, 2008 -
The Economist
The next generation of economists do their best work somewhere between the field clinic and the dissection room.
December 17, 2008 -
Les nouveaux economistes

Esther Duflo: La Française a fonde le Poverty Action Lab, qui est devenu une place forte de l'economie du developpement. Pour le savoir, Esther Duflo, cofondatnce en 2003 du Poverty Action.

December 11, 2008 -
Esquire Magazine

Throwing money at the developing world isn't going to fix it. So the Poverty Action Lab found a way to measure the usefulness of a textbook.

December 9, 2008 -

The pilgrimage that brings more than 2 million Muslims to Mecca every year tends to make them more religiously observant and also more tolerant, a huge study of Pakistani pilgrims suggests. Muslims who undertake the hajj "return with more positive views towards people from other countries," are more likely to say "that people of different religions are equal," and are twice as likely as other religious Muslims to condemn Osama bin Laden, the study found.

December 1, 2008 -

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Development Cooperation category goes to the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The Lab, founded by economists at MIT, promotes the use of scientific methods to assess the on-the-ground effectiveness of development assistance funding.

November 17, 2008 -
New York Times

Fisman and Miguel strongly back the idea of randomized testing for anti-poverty interventions, an idea that is being pushed with great success by the Poverty Action Lab at MIT.

November 17, 2008 -
Wall Street Journal

School-based deworming programmes dramatically improve child health and education at low cost.

November 17, 2008 -
Philanthropy Action

Duflo, Banerjee and the other J-PAL economists apply the rigor of randomized controlled trial techniques to poverty interventions to identify whether or not a program is effective. In this interview, they highlight the poverty interventions they view as consistently effective and provide insight into where individual donors can make a true impact.

October 29, 2008 -
Millennium Challenge Corporation

Rigorous Evidence: Key to Progress Against World Poverty?

September 25, 2008 -
Clinton Global Initiative

At the 2008 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, Bill Clinton honored the commitment to deworm 10 million children and the work of Deworm the World. Deworm the World was established by the Education Group of the Forum of Young Global Leaders to promote mass school-based deworming on the findings of J-PAL research. Michael Kremer, Esther Duflo and Rachel Glennerster (all J-PAL members) are board members of Deworm the World.

September 10, 2008 -
International Herald Tribune

A blogger for the International Herald Tribune had an e-mail Q & A with Esther Duflo of the MIT Poverty Action Lab.

September 1, 2008 -
Boston Review

In rural areas where piped-water infrastructure is too expensive or difficult to maintain, the burden of water collection falls primarily on women and young children. Though they may walk hours, the sources they have access to are often dangerously polluted.

August 11, 2008 -
PBS Newshour

Some schools across the country have launched new cash reward programs to improve students' test scores, despite concerns from some educators over what role money should play in children's motivation.

July 22, 2008 -

Ever since fears erupted about a decade ago that the world could be divided into digital haves and have-nots, policymakers have assumed that this digital divide needs to be bridged. The most obvious first step was to give children from poor families access to computers, in school and at home. But does this plug-and-study idea really work in poor neighborhoods? Not necessarily, it seems.

July 8, 2008 -
U.S. News and World Report

Abhijit Banerjee explains that when it comes to finding innovative solutions to social ills, the social sector—nonprofit organizations, NGOs—have the on-the-ground, local knowledge that government lacks. But this sector can't fund itself.

June 30, 2008 -
The American

Effective aid not only has to make the world safe for small business and intermittent labor; it must also create the sort of capital markets that help larger businesses flourish.

June 23, 2008 -

Eighty percent of the world’s 140 million undernourished children lack essential micronutrients.

June 14, 2008 -
Arab News

The Paris School of Economics announced the creation of the “Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab-Europe” at a conference entitled “Randomized Evaluations of Social Programs” organized by the research department of the French Ministry of Labor.

June 12, 2008 -
Open Budgets Blog

Recent research by Martina Bjorkman and Jakob Svensson for the Centre for Economic Policy Research investigatez the impact of community based monitoring on the quality and quantity of health services in Uganda.

June 12, 2008 -
The Economist

Are "randomized evaluations" a better way of doing aid and development policy?

June 1, 2008 -
Boston Review

Edward Miguel assesses the prospects for sustained growth in Africa, with commentaries from a variety of authors including Rachel Glennerster from J-PAL. Miguel argues that rigorous evidence on what works is key to improving outcomes in Africa.

May 27, 2008 -
The Economic Times

Considered one of the top Indian economists today, Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee , Ford Foundation International professor in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is rooted in details. A passionate empiricist, Prof Banerjee co-founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at the institute. Along with his colleagues, he has delved deep into the implementation of the flagship social sector programmes of the government.

May 22, 2008 -
The Economic Times

Abhijit Banerjee, professor of economics at MIT and director of the prestigious Jameel Poverty Action Lab, doesn’t see as much interest in India yet among the global community of economists, as there is in China.

May 21, 2008 -

In an apparent rebuke of the Indian government’s ambitious welfare schemes, Abhijit Banerjee has said nearly half of the country’s children aged below five will suffer from stunted growth, and many of them will probably be brain-damaged due to lack of iodine and iron.

April 28, 2008 -
Foreign Policy

Esther Duflo has been named as one of Foreign Policy's top 100 intellectuals.

April 25, 2008 -

Does going to Mecca make Muslims more moderate?

April 14, 2008 -
The Boston Globe

The Jameel Poverty Action Lab is leading a quiet revolution. The idea is simple: to identify the most effective ways to alleviate poverty by applying the same kind of rigorous, scientific, randomized trials routinely used to test new drugs.

March 13, 2008 -
Neue Zuercher Zeitung

The question of whether development aid is effective in fighting poverty has been subject of controversial debates, often based on ideological assumptions. Searching for a general answer is similarly futile than the question whether government expenditures are good or bad: it will depend on how the money is spent. It is therefore important to know which development projects are most effective in fighting poverty.

March 4, 2008 -
The Chicago Tribune

Eradicating hookworm in the U.S. South brought about dramatic changes. We can do the same in Africa.

March 2, 2008 -
Voice of America News

Economists at M.I.T.’s Jameel Poverty Action Lab have found no evidence that paying for a product in the developing world changes how people use it.

February 21, 2008 -
Center for Global Development

Today's pledge by President Bush to invest $350 million in fighting Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) over the next 5 years is one of the wisest investments we can make in combating poverty around the world. This is particularly true when children are mass treated for common diseases through schools.

February 20, 2008 -
New York Times

Over the last decade, economics has begun to make a comeback from an old and tired discipline. Armed with newly powerful tools for analyzing data, economists have dug into real-world matters and tried to understand human behavior.

February 20, 2008 -
Education Week

More than three years ago, schools in the small central Ohio city of Coshocton launched an experiment to pay elementary students for passing or scoring high on state exams. The results from that experiment suggest that in some respects, little Coshocton’s big gamble paid off.

February 10, 2008 -
The New York Times

While no woman has been president of the United States — yet — the world does have several thousand years’ worth of experience with female leaders.

January 31, 2008 -
The Economist

Professors Banerjee and Duflo's research is cited in an article about the middle class of emerging economies.

January 26, 2008 -
Indian Express

Bothered by cliched images of corrupt policemen in films and poor public perception, a pre-pilot project was undertaken in 10 police stations across three districts in Rajasthan to improve police skills and public perception.

January 25, 2008 -
Time in partnership with CNN

Cherie Blair promotes Deworm the World, an initiative that's grown out of research by MIT's Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, showing that kids who have taken antiworm medicine are more likely to attend school and do well than their worm-ridden peers.

January 18, 2008 -
Center for Global Development

Dani Rodrik, has announced that the new paper by Cohen & Dupas
presented at CGD last week “vindicates Jeff Sachs.” If by this, Dani
means that the Cohen-Dupas paper lends support to the view that bed nets
should always be free in poor countries and social marketing programs
that depend upon small payments should be abolished, [Mead Over] believes that he
is reading much more into the Cohen-Dupas results than is justified.

January 15, 2008 -
Dani Rodrick's blog, Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard Kennedy School

There has been an ongoing battle between Sachs and segments of the global public health community on the appropriate delivery mechanisms for ITNs. The efficacy of ITNs in preventing malaria exposure is not in question. What has been debated is whether ITNs should be distributed free (the Sachs position) or at a positive, albeit subsidized price.

January 11, 2008 -
NPR- The Bryant Park Project

As the United States contemplates the possibility of its first female president, we look at India, which in 1992 mandated a place for women in local governments. Esther Duflo of the Jameel Poverty Action Lab found that women there lead differently than men.

January 5, 2008 -

Esther Duflo, a French economics professor at MIT, wondered whether there was anything that could be done about absentee teachers in rural India, which is a large problem for remote schoolhouses with a single teacher.

January 3, 2008 -
El - ciencia blog

- ¿Es positivo dar libros a los niños de países en vías de desarrollo para mejorar su educación? - Sí, claro! - ¿Cómo lo sabes? - Hombre, me imagino que… - No imagines nada. ¿Es más efectivo que proporcionarles un profesor adicional, o darles desayuno gratuito? - No lo se… Una cosa no quita la otra… - Si tienes un presupuesto ajustado sí. - Pero mejor tener libros que no tenerlos. Yo creo que…. - No creas nada. Es un tema demasiado serio para abordarlo según lo que “creas”.

January 2, 2008 -
Business Week

Africa's best hope to fight malaria is the wide distribution of mosquito-repelling bed nets. But who best serves that need: the public sector or private interests?