Prof. Esther Duflo

On November 9th, Professor Esther Duflo (MIT, Nobel laureate in Economic Sciences in 2019) gave the third lecture of the 2022-2023 Bisan Lecture Series. In line with the current discussions at COP 27, Professor Duflo outlined the main issues associated with climate change. She stressed the lopsided inequalities involved, between nations as well as within nations, notably the 10/50 rule: worldwide, right now, the wealthiest 10% of the population are responsible for 50% of GHG emissions, and the poorest 50% for 10% of emissions. Clearly any effort to address climate change must address these inequalities, and the responsibility lies squarely at the feet of wealthy nations. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that wealthy nations have spent enormous amounts protecting their own citizens and contributed very little towards poorer nations, even raiding the provisions set up for them. Professor Duflo sees hope in the fact that the issue of redistribution is now on the agenda of COP 27, with the creation of a climate fund which would help poorer nations in the South cope with climate change.

The lecture slides are available here.

Abstract: Professor Duflo will discuss her research, as she seeks to understand the economic lives of the poor, with the aim to help design and evaluate social policies.

Biographical Sketch: Esther Duflo

Esther Duflo is a professor at MIT and at Collège de France. She is the second woman to have received the Nobel prize in economics (2019), together with her husband, Abhijit Banerjee, and Michael Kremer, ten years after Elinor Ostrom (2009). Both women have been pathbreaking by turning their attention to non-Western societies, with a view of studying non-market mechanisms and alleviating poverty. Professor Duflo has introduced new methods into the field of development ecomics, randomized controlled trials (RCT), with a view of eschewing theoretical discussions in favor of experimental facts. Her work has been hugely influential, both on the scientific side, by the careful design of experiments and their statistical interpretation, and on the public policy side, because of their practical and often counter-intuitive conclusions.

This lecture is sponsored by the Bisan Center for Research and DevelopmentScientists for Palestine and the Center for Palestinian Studies of Columbia University