The Women in Time’s Most Influential List 2011: Esther Duflo

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Today is another name I don’t recognize, but I think in this series I actually find those the most fun because I get to learn about new people. So let’s dive in and take a look at Esther Duflo.

  • She’s an economist.
  • She teaches at MIT (Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics).
  • Her research looks at developing countries.
  • She has worked hard to advance using field experiments.
  • She is the director (and one of the founders) of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, which seeks to reduce poverty by having science to help inform policy.
  • She often focuses on the very specific and studies it in randomized trial experiments. Examples include “If schoolkids could get their uniforms for free, would attendance go up?” and “What’s an effective way to reward mothers for immunizing their babies?”
  • Speculation has it that she will win a Nobel Prize in the future.
  • She’s met with several big shots: Bill Gates, the head of Facebook, and the head of Amazon for example.

From http://www.macfound.org/site/c.lkLXJ8MQKrH/b.5458011/k.9398/Esther_Duflo.htm

I think she is definitely influential. She is slowly changing the way we address poverty. It may not be widespread yet, but I think the work she is doing now will be in the future. This is really revolutionary work if we want to end poverty (which most people would say we do) because her work focuses on trying to find out what actually works. If we want to end poverty, her work is going to be crucial. Her influence will come in the future, as she is really making this a popular idea. It seems like such common sense – let’s test what actually makes a difference, but yet before her, it wasn’t really happening. I think that if we ever want to end poverty we need to pay attention to the work she is doing and we need to pay attention to how she is doing it. This is world-changing stuff, mark my words. And it will have all started with Esther Duflo.

Sources:

Other influential women from Time’s Most Influential List 2011 that I profiled include Major General Margaret Woodward, Maria Bashir, Mia Wasikowska, Felisa Wolfe-Simon, Oprah Winfrey, Hilary Clinton, Blake Lively, Kate Middleton, Michele Bachmann, Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, Dilma Rousseff, Michelle Obama, Gabrielle Giffords, Aung San Suu Kyi, Kim Clijisters, Jennifer Egan, Amy Chua, Angela Merkel, Lisa Jackson, and Amy Poehler.

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