Duflo Wins Award For Best Young French Economist: Le Prix 2005 du meilleur jeune economiste

May 17, 2005

The 2005 prize for the best young economist Esther Duflo was chosen by “Le Monde Economie” and Le Cercle des Economistes” (May 17) as one of two young economists to win the 2005 prize. Although it does not claim the same level of prestige, the prize (created in 2000) is inspired by and modeled on the John Bates Clark Medal for the best American economist under 40. It seeks to honor young French researchers who are outstanding both for the quality of their theory and their work on current economic and social problems, thus contributing to economic thought in Europe. Professor Duflo, 32, received the prize at the Senate in Paris from Thierry Breton, Minister of the Economy, Finance, and Industry. Specializing in development questions, Prof. Duflo was nominated for the prize in 2003. Her success this year recognizes her achievement in creating the Poverty Action Lab, a laboratory setup to fight poverty. Interviewed by Laurence Caramel Prof. Duflo agreed that the international community had lost some of its momentum in its fight against poverty and that this was partly because of a lack of money and political will but also because of ignorance about the best way of achieving this goal. For example, it is no use having medicines if there are not good ways to distribute them. Similarly, it is vital to evaluate microcredit, in order to have evidence about the effectiveness of this form of finance and to understand the role of increasing ownership by the local population in programs for reducing poverty. Putting more funds into evaluation of projects is, in the long run, the way to gain the support of public opinion and avoid disillusionment about aid.

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