Release: J-PAL Executive Director Rachel Glennerster Appointed Chief Economist at UK Department for International Development

September 7, 2017

The UK Department for International Development (DFID) announced today that Rachel Glennerster, Executive Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), has been appointed Chief Economist of DFID.

Dr. Glennerster will take an extended leave of absence from J-PAL starting on January 1, 2018 to serve in the Chief Economist role. Iqbal Dhaliwal, current Deputy Executive Director of J-PAL, will become Executive Director. 

Of the new appointment, Dr. Glennerster said, “Since I joined J-PAL in 2004, we’ve grown to more than 300 staff across our headquarters at MIT and six regional offices around the world. I’m confident that J-PAL will be in good hands in my absence. I look forward to furthering DFID’s innovative evidence-informed approach to ending extreme poverty and promoting economic growth.” 

“We at J-PAL are very proud that Rachel has been chosen for this important role,” said J-PAL directors Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, and Benjamin Olken. “We are confident that she will do as amazing a job at DFID as she has done at J-PAL, and we look forward to welcoming her back to J-PAL when her term at DFID is complete.”

Dr. Glennerster’s research includes randomized evaluations of education, health, microfinance, community driven development, agriculture, women's empowerment and governance in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, India, Pakistan, and Sierra Leone. Other research includes work on the economic impacts of Ebola, financial market transparency, and methods for spurring innovation on neglected tropical diseases. She helped establish Deworm the World, a nonprofit initiative that now reaches more than 150 million children every year.

Prior to J-PAL, Dr. Glennerster worked at Her Majesty's Treasury and the International Monetary Fund. She is the co-author of Strong Medicine: Creating Incentives for Pharmaceutical Research on Neglected Diseases, and Running Randomized Evaluations: A Practical Guide. Dr. Glennerster holds a Ph.D in economics from Birkbeck College, University of London. 


The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a network of more than 140 affiliated professors from over forty universities. Our mission is to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. We engage with hundreds of partners around the world to conduct rigorous research, build capacity, share policy lessons, and scale up effective programs. J-PAL was launched at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and now has regional offices in Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. For more information, visit

Media contact: Eliza Keller, [email protected]