The co-founders of Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, and the associate professor Michael Kremer, they received the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences 2019. The recognition was awarded “for their experimental approach to the alleviation of global poverty.”
Banerjee and Duflo co-founded J-PAL with Sendhil Mullainathan at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2003. In 2009, and thanks to the support of the Colunga Foundation, they installed the headquarters for Latin America and the Caribbean in Santiago, Chile, at the Institute of Economics of the Pontifical Catholic University, in order to sustain, with scientific evidence, the impact of public policies for the effective overcoming of poverty in the region.
The Chilean headquarters of J-Pal has carried out evaluations in the areas of education, health, finance, labor markets, housing and urban services. In addition, it has held meetings with the governments of the region that have requested their services.
J-PAL affiliated teachers carry out random evaluations of innovative programs and policies, identifying success stories and failures in the goal of reducing poverty. In addition, they work with strategic partners to ensure that the results of the evaluations affect the design of public policies and that the most effective solutions are scaled up.
The network of researchers, which started with just six people, has expanded to become a global research center with 181 affiliated researchers and 400 employees at major research universities around the world.
Esther Duflo, the youngest person and the second woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, said: “This recognition highlights the importance and urgency of our work. We have seen the great potential of experimental research and political commitment to make changes on a global scale. I look forward to continuing to work with the amazing affiliated professors, staff, donors and implementers of J-PAL to reach hundreds of millions more people worldwide. ”
While, Abhijit Banerjee He stressed: “J-PAL has represented, and will always represent, a shared link between our affiliated researchers, more than 400 employees worldwide and hundreds of implementation partners and donors. Without their incredible commitment, creativity and hard work, this trip would not have been possible. I am very grateful to all of them. ”
Iqbal Dhaliwal, Executive Director of J-PAL, said: “Abhijit and Esther are one of the few founders who achieved the incredible balance between providing a challenging and creative vision for the growth of the organization, and at the same time guaranteeing staff freedom to innovate . Many of us join J-PAL because we feel inspired by them, and it is an honor to work with them every day to identify the most promising solutions to end global poverty. ”