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.