by Abhijit Baerjee
Billions of government dollars, and thousands of charitable organizations and NGOs, are dedicated to helping the world’s poor. But much of their work is based on assumptions that are untested generalizations at best, harmful misperceptions at worst. Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo have pioneered the use of randomized control trials in development economics. Work based on these principles, supervised by the Poverty Action Lab, is being carried out in dozens of countries. Drawing on this and their 15 years of research from Chile to India, Kenya to Indonesia, they have identified wholly new aspects of the behavior of poor people, their needs, and the way that aid or financial investment can affect their lives. Their work defies certain presumptions: that microfinance is a cure all, that schooling equals learning, that poverty at the level of 99 cents a day is just a more extreme version of the experience any of us have when our income falls uncomfortably low. This important book illuminates how the poor live, and offers all of us an opportunity to think of a world beyond poverty.
About The Author
Abhijit Banerjee is the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at MIT. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society and has been a Guggenheim Fellow. He has also received the inaugural Infosys Prize (2009) in Social Sciences and Economics.
Esther Duflo is the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at MIT. Duflo has received numerous academic honours and prizes including most recently the John Bates Clark Medal (2010) and a MacArthur Fellowship (2009). She has also been featured in Foreign Policys Top 100 Global Thinkers and Fortunes 40 under 40.