Esther Duflo: French specialist in combatting poverty

phys.org | 4/26/2011 | Staff
kimberly163 (Posted by) Level 3
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Esther Duflo, one of three people awarded the Nobel Economics Prize on Monday, is a high-profile academic feted in the United States and her home country France for her hands-on approach to studying how people can escape the poverty trap.

The 46-year-old professor, the youngest ever winner of the economics prize and only the second woman to gain the accolade, had been widely tipped since she picked up the prestigious John Bates Clark medal in 2010 which is often a first step to the Nobel award.

Age - Gender - Stand - Recipients - Prize

But her age, gender and speciality—development economics—make her stand out among past recipients of the prize, who have traditionally been older, male and often American.

She won the award with Indian-born Abhijit Banerjee of the US and Michael Kremer of the US, all hailed by the jury "for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty".

Duflo - Banerjee - Doctorate - Supervisor - Professors

Duflo is married to Banerjee, who was her doctorate supervisor, and both are professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The economist made her name conducting research on poor communities in India and Africa, seeking to weigh the impact of policies such as incentivising teachers to show up for work or measures to empower women.

Tests - Trials - Drugs - Seek - Investments

Her tests, which have been likened to clinical trials for drugs, seek to identify and demonstrate which investments are worth making and have the biggest impact on the lives of the most deprived.

"Our vision of poverty is dominated by caricatures and cliches," she told AFP in an interview in September 2017 while discussing the aim of her fieldwork and research as a professor at MIT in Boston.

Obstacles

"We need to understand the obstacles faced by the poorest and try to think about how we can help them move on," she said.

Duflo is just as likely to be found out in the dusty and impoverished villages of northern India, where she...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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