Economists Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee win the Nobel Prize
 


Photo by Bryce Vickmark
 

“The significance of Abhijit’s and Esther’s scholarship is not only that it has transformed the ways in which economists and policymakers think about and approach poverty alleviation, but that, at the core, their research is guided by deeply humanistic values. In their vision, the materially poor are at the center, as are remedies for global poverty that actually work, that open doors for millions to education, health care, economic well-being, and safe communities — to the full promise of human life.”

— Melissa Nobles, Kenan Sahin Dean, MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
 



Full Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News

Excerpt

Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee, MIT economists whose work has helped transform antipoverty research and relief efforts, have been named co-winners of the 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, along with another co-winner, Harvard University economist Michael Kremer. 

“We are incredibly happy and humbled,” Duflo told MIT News after learning of the award. “We feel very fortunate to see this kind of work being recognized.”

Banerjee told MIT News it was “wonderful” to receive the award, adding “you don’t get this lucky many times in your life.”

The work of Duflo and Banerjee, which has long been intertwined with Kremer’s, has been highly innovative in the area of development economics, emphasizing the use of field experiments in research in order to realize the benefits of laboratory-style randomized, controlled trials. Duflo and Banerjee have applied this new precision while studying a wide range of topics implicated in global poverty, including health care, education, agriculture, and gender issues, while developing new antipoverty programs based on their research.

Duflo and Banerjee also co-founded MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)  in 2003, along with a third co-founder, Sendhil Mullainathan, now of the University of Chicago. J-PAL, a global network of antipoverty researchers that conducts field experiments, has now become a major center of research, facilitating work across the world.

J-PAL also examines which kinds of local interventions have the greatest impact on social problems, and works to implement those programs more broadly, in cooperation with governments and NGOs. Among J-PAL’s notable interventions are deworming programs that have been adopted widely.

In the statement released this morning, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which grants the Nobel awards, noted that the work of Duflo, Banerjee, and Kremer has “dramatically improved our ability to fight poverty in practice” and cited their “new approach to obtaining reliable answers about the best ways to fight global poverty.”...

Melissa Nobles, the Kenan Sahin Dean of MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, praised the ethical foundations guiding the work of Duflo and Banerjee.

“The significance of Abhijit’s and Esther’s scholarship is not only that it has transformed the ways in which economists and policymakers think about and approach poverty alleviation, but that, at the core, their research is guided by deeply humanistic values,” Nobles said. “In their vision, the materially poor are at the center, as are remedies for global poverty that actually work, that open doors for millions to education, health care, economic well-being, and safe communities — to the full promise of human life.”
 

Full Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News