News & Events

Esther Duflo - a Nobel Prize winner at war with poverty


Her career has been dazzling. Appointed Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at 32, and winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics at 47, she devotes her energy to improving the daily lives of the world's poor. She is Esther Duflo, Development Economist, and her goal is simple: to better understand poverty to eradicate it.

Professor Duflo has been invited by the GSEM to speak at the Solari Lecture 2023 on Thursday, 12 October at 6 pm. Her lecture: "Good Economics for Warmer Times" will focus on the impact of climate change in developing countries and, above all, on possible changes in behavior and policies. The following day, she will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Geneva at the Dies academicus.

Esther Duflo's groundbreaking work has won numerous awards. Based on an experimental approach - she conducts her research directly in developing countries - she develops stable economic models for better care of poor populations and develops scientific methods for evaluating development aid programs and social policies.

In 2003, alongside researcher Abhijit Banerjee, she co-founded the Poverty Action Laboratory (J-PAL), a Nobel Prize-winning pioneering initiative that has won over governments around the world by proposing effective methods in areas such as women's empowerment, education, health, political representation, microfinance, and the environment.

Together, they wrote Rethinking Poverty, which won the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year award in 2011 and was translated into 17 languages, followed in 2020 by Good Economics for Hard Times. Esther Duflo's career also led her to advise Barack Obama at the start of his second term, when she joined the Committee for Global Development. More recently, her commitment to the general public, and young people in particular, has led her to create a series of illustrated books to help children understand what precariousness means. The protagonists, who live on less than 2 Francs a day (like some 356 million children around the world), are confronted, each in their way, with issues linked to poverty. At the end of each story, she proposes solutions whose effectiveness has been demonstrated by her work.

Markus Menz, Dean of the GSEM, said: "Esther Duflo has bridged the gap between economic theory and practical solutions, showing how good economics can be transformative in an imperfect world".

> This article was written by Le Journal de l'Unige


October 5, 2023
   AACSB-logo-member-color-RGB.png        AMBA-logo-Acc-Colour.gif          EFMD-NewLogo2013-HR_colours.png