The Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded on Monday October 14, 2019 to Frenchwoman Esther Duflo and Americans Michael Kremer and Abhijit Banerjee for their experimental work on global poverty reduction. Duflo, 46, and Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is the second woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Economics.
A renowned economist in the United States, Duflo received the John Bates Clark Medal in 2010. In 2013, she sat on the new Global Development Committee, which advised former US President Barack Obama on issues concerning development aid in poor countries.
The Nobel Committee, for the first time, has acknowledged field experiences, including the work of the research laboratory, Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), co-founded in 2003 by Duflo and her husband Banerjee.The laboratory has conducted more than 400 experiments in 15 years to, in the words of Duflo, “base the fight against poverty on scientific evidence”. For example, to fight malaria, should nets be distributed free of charge or be made available for a small fee? Should immunization be compulsory or only encouraged? In her research, the new Nobel Prize winner has noted that Indian farmers are more likely to vaccinate their children in exchange for a bag of lentils.These random experiments are now widely adopted by international organizations such as the World Bank.