Sunday, April 25, 2010

Esther Duflo wins the John Bates Clark Medal

Esther Duflo has won the John Bates Clark Medal, which is the most prestigious award in economics other than the Nobel. She is best known for her work at J-PAL in advancing the cause of randomized control trials (RCTs) to evaluate policies and interventions, a topic I have written about here before. I met Esther at a conference recently, she's also a very nice person.

What does it mean? Well, it's good to see a development economist get the award, particularly since development tends to be rather maligned. Hopefully, this award also signals an increase in the emphasis on real-world, policy relevant research within the profession. Some people are worried that this will increase the dominance of RCTs as the approach in development economics. Personally, I don't think it will make much of a difference- the emphasis on RCTs has gone about as far as it can go.

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