Science and the Fight against Poverty: How Far Have We Come in 20 Years and What's Next?
This two-day colloquium will focus on how innovation and scientific evidence are driving advances in the global fight against poverty. The event will bring together researchers, policymakers, social innovators, funders and the general public at the Collège de France in Paris to explore the role of evidence use in shaping development and social policy in a variety of contexts. With all of these actors gathered together, the colloquium will serve as a space to celebrate progress, identify and disseminate best practices and take stock of the work still to be done to address global challenges like climate change.
This colloquium serves as the culmination of the first year of J-PAL co-founder and director Esther Duflo’s chair position in “Poverty and Public Policy” at the Collège de France, which she has used to explore the progression of the global effort to develop and mainstream evidence-based policy. Ultimately, this event will seek to chart the path forward for policymaking informed by rigorous research on a global level and continue J-PAL’s work of advocating for innovative, cost-effective solutions to our most pressing challenges.
The colloquium will be held over two days, Thursday, June 22 and Friday, June 23, at the historic Collège de France in Paris. Attendance is open to the general public; no prior registration is necessary. On June 22, the focus will be on Europe—with particular attention on the network’s activities in France, recent experiences in Spain, as well as J-PAL’s work promoting social inclusion on the continent through its European Social Inclusion Initiative. The first half of this day will be held in French, and the remainder of the event will be held in English. The following day, June 23, will be devoted to global poverty reduction challenges and the role of evidence-driven innovation in development.
Download the full agenda
Thursday, June 22nd
[The morning session will be conducted in French, with simultaneous translation into English. The afternoon session will be conducted in English, without translation.]
The programming will start at 9:15 am CET and end at 5:45 pm CET.
Panel discussions and presentations will focus on J-PAL’s work in France, Spain, and other research and policy partnerships across Europe.
Opening remarks will come from Esther Duflo, complemented by addresses and reflections from high level policy-makers and researchers from the J-PAL network throughout the day.
Morning: Building a hub for experimental research and evidence-based policy-making in France
Morning sessions will include:
- Opening address by Bruno Le Maire (French Minister of Economics, Finance, and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty)
- Advances in experimental education research in France, profiling in particular the Innovation, Data and Experiments in Education project with the Ministry of Education, with Charline Avenel, Axelle Charpentier (French Ministry of Education) and Marc Gurgand (PSE)
- Social protection and employment efforts in France with Martin Hirsch (former High Commissioner for Active Solidarity against Poverty), Bruno Crépon (CREST) and Cyril Nouveau (Pôle Emploi)
Afternoon: Investments in Social Policy in Europe
The afternoon will focus on J-PAL’s work in Spain and Europe more broadly. Afternoon sessions will include:
- A panel discussion highlighting J-PAL’s work in Spain with Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration José Luis Escrivá and Abhijit Banerjee (MIT), Samuel Bentolila (CEMFI) and Mónica Martínez Bravo (CEMFI)
- Presentations highlighting advances in our understanding of how to promote social inclusion in Europe, including by Sule Alan (EUI) and Eliana La Ferrara (Harvard Kennedy School) and George Richards (Community Jameel)
Friday, June 23rd
[The full day will be conducted in English, without translation.]
The programming will start at 9:00 am CET and end at 6:00 pm CET.
The focus will be devoted to global poverty reduction challenges and the role of evidence-driven innovation in development.
Opening remarks will come from Abhijit Banerjee, complemented by addresses and reflections from high level policy-makers and researchers from the J-PAL network throughout the day.
Morning: Placing evidence and innovation at the heart of development policy
Morning sessions will include:
- Reflections on 20 years of research and evidence use by Santosh Mathew (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) and Rachel Glennerster (University of Chicago), J-PAL’s first Executive Director
- How to think about the social return on investments in research and innovation by Michael Kremer (University of Chicago)
- Highlights of the impact and progress made by the Fund for Innovation in Development (FID) and USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures Fund, including French Secretary of State for the Sea, Hervé Berville; Sasha Gallant (DIV) and Juliette Seban (FID)
- A panel discussion on how development cooperation has been transformed by the increase in rigorous evidence, featuring Dean Karlan (Northwestern; USAID), Arianna Legovini (World Bank), Thomas Melonio (AFD) and Charlotte Watts (FCDO)
Afternoon: Addressing global challenges
Afternoon sessions will include:
- A presentation by Robin Burgess (LSE) and Michael Greenstone (University of Chicago) on progress in determining effective pathways for addressing climate change and its impacts on the most economically vulnerable
- Presentations on what we have learned from long-term partnerships for research to inform development policy, including from Pascaline Dupas (Stanford) and Carol Nekesa (Vyxer Research Management, REMIT Kenya); Rema Hanna (Harvard Kennedy School) and Elan Satriawan (Gadjah Mada University, TNP2K, Indonesia); and Tavneet Suri (MIT)
- A closing address by Rémy Rioux (Chief Executive of the French Development Agency)
Sule Alan, Professor of Economics, European University Institute
Charline Avenel, Rector, Academy of Versailles (France)
Abhijit Banerjee, J-PAL Co-Founder, Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics, MIT (2019 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences Laureate)
Samuel Bentolila, Professor of Economics, CEMFI
Hervé Berville, Secretary of State for the Sea (France)
Robin Burgess, Co-Founder & Director, International Growth Centre
Axelle Charpentier, Head of Office, Public Policy Evaluation and Research Support, Ministry of National Education and Youth (France)
Abdourahmane Cissé, Minister, Secretary-General of the Presidency, Republic of Côte d'Ivoire
Bruno Crépon, Professor of Economics, ENSAE
Esther Duflo, J-PAL Co-Founder, Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics, MIT (2019 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences Laureate)
Pascaline Dupas, The Kleinheinz Family Professor of International Studies, Stanford University
José Luis Escrivá, Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration (Spain)
Sasha Gallant, Chief of the Development Innovation Ventures, USAID
Rachel Glennerster, Associate Professor, University of Chicago
Michael Greenstone, Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, University of Chicago
Marc Gurgand, Scientific Director of J-PAL Europe & Head of the Economics Department at ENS-PSL
Rema Hanna, Jeffrey Cheah Professor of South-East Asia Studies, Harvard Kennedy School
Martin Hirsch, Former High Commissioner for Active Solidarity against Poverty (France)
Dean Karlan, Frederic Esser Nemmers Distinguished Professor of Economics and Finance, Northwestern University; Chief Economist, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
Naomi Kirungu, Lead, Partnerships - SME, African Management Institute
Michael Kremer, University Professor of Economics, University of Chicago (2019 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences Laureate)
Eliana La Ferrara, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
Miriam Laker, Research Director, GiveDirectly
Arianna Legovini, Director, Development Impact Evaluation, World Bank
Bruno Le Maire, Minister of Economics, Finance, and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty (France)
Monica Martinez-Bravo, Professor, CEMFI
Santosh Mathew, Country Lead Public Policy and Finance, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Thomas Melonio, Executive Director of Innovation, Strategy and Research, Agence française de développement (AFD)
Alison Naftalin, Chief Executive Officer of Lively Minds
Carol Nekesa, Co-Founder and Director of Vyxer Research Management, REMIT Kenya
Cyril Nouveau, Director of Statistics, Studies and Evaluation, Pôle Emploi (France)
George Richards, Director, Community Jameel
Rémy Rioux, Director General, Agence française de développement (AFD)
Elan Satriawan, Universitas Gadjah Mada, TNP2K (Indonesia)
Juliette Seban, Executive Director, Fund for Innovation in Development (FID)
Tavneet Suri, Louis E. Seley Professor of Applied Economics, MIT Sloan School of Management
Kwabena Tandoh, Deputy Director General of Ghana Education Services
Charlotte Watts, Chief Scientific Advisor for Research and Evidence, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)