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The May 17 edition of the New Yorker profiles Esther Duflo, an M.I.T. professor of development economics who co-founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) in 2003. The article offers insight into the study of poverty issues from a new perspective. Click here for a sneak peek.

A MacArthur “genius” fellowship winner who also won this year’s John Bates Clark medal for the best economist in America under age 40, Duflo is counted among the economists who believe there is something that can be done about poverty. According to the article, “she boldly told the TED conference that she could ‘take the guesswork out of policymaking.’”

Writer Ian Parker tracks her on trips to India and Rwanda, where she helps conduct and evaluate randomized control trials (like those used in drug trials) to test social policy questions like: Does microfinance work? Can watching a play that demonstrates the worth of women in leadership roles prompt social change?

It’s an interesting discussion of one economist’s theories of how governments and NGOs should tackle poverty alleviation. The New Yorker requires a subscription to read the whole article online; but you can also pick up a newsstand copy almost anywhere.


Donna Stokes

Donna Stokes is the managing editor of World Ark magazine. She has worked for Heifer International since September 2008 when she leaped over to the nonprofit world from a two-decade career in newspaper journalism.