Scientific Director, J-PAL South Asia
Member, Executive Committee
J-PAL Affiliated Professor
Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Esther Duflo is the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics in the Department of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). She also previously served as Co-Chair of J-PAL's Urban Services Initiative. In her research, she seeks to understand the economic lives of the poor, with the aim to help design and evaluate social policies. She has worked on health, education, financial inclusion, environment, and governance.
Esther is the recipient of the 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, awarded jointly with Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer "for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty."
Her first degrees were in history and economics from Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris. She subsequently received a PhD in Economics from MIT in 1999.
Esther has received numerous academic honors and prizes including the Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences (2015), the A.SK Social Science Award (2015), Infosys Prize (2014), the David N. Kershaw Award (2011), a John Bates Clark Medal (2010), and a MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship (2009). With Abhijit Banerjee, she wrote Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, which won the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award in 2011 and has been translated into 17 languages. She is the Editor of the American Economic Review, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.
In addition to serving as a Director of J-PAL and Scientific Director of J-PAL South Asia, Esther has served on the review board of J-PAL's Urban Services Initiative and lectured at J-PAL training events.
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