Abhijit Banerjee

Poor economics – effective poverty reduction policies

Prof. Abhijit Banerjee/MIT discussed roots of global poverty as well as policies and development aid programmes which support effective reduction of poverty.

Tuesday 16.10.2012

Prof. Banerjee declared that people get themselves into an intellectual trap when thinking into these absolute categories of institutions. Indeed, there are all kinds of failures, even within the “good” institutions. Prof. Banerjee concluded that if we take the institutions of these countries as given and basically make ourselves buy standards rather than saying most countries have bad policies, not particularly by design but because of accidental failures, we delay the process of removing poverty by many years. For this reason, he emphasised that we need to be present and wisely intervene on an intellectual level, and not simply overbear through the policy process.

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Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee is the leading development economist, named among 100 top global thinkers by the Foreign Policy Magazine. Banerjee was educated at the University of Calcutta, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D in 1988. He is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2003 he founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), along with Esther Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan and remains one of the directors of the lab. In 2009 J-PAL won the BBVA Foundation "Frontier of Knowledge" award in the development cooperation category. Banerjee is a past president of the Bureau for the Research in the Economic Analysis of Development, a Research Associate of the NBER, a CEPR research fellow, International Research Fellow of the Kiel Institute, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society and has been a Guggenheim Fellow and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow. He received the Infosys Prize 2009 in Social Sciences and Economics. His areas of research are development economics and economic theory. He is the author of three books including Poor Economics, as well as a large number of articles, and is the editor of a third book. He finished his first documentary film, "The Name of the Disease" in 2006.

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