Esther Duflo, Professor of Economics at MIT in Boston, will receive an honorary doctorate on the occasion of the 106th anniversary (Dies Natalis) of Erasmus University Rotterdam in November 2019. At the instigation of Honorary Promotor Prof. Dinand Webbink of Erasmus School of Economics she receives this honorary doctorate because of her impressive research contributions on a broad set of economic issues in developing countries, including household behavior, education, access to finance, health, and policy evaluation.
Eminent scholar Esther Duflo (Paris, 1972) is a pioneer in advancing field experiments as an important methodology to discover causal relationships in economics. She is Co-Founder and Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), which has conducted over 200 empirical development experiments through randomized controlled trials since 2003. For the broader audience outside academia she is probably most well-known by her book Poor Economics, co-authored with Banerjee. It documents their 15 years of experience in conducting randomized control trials to alleviate poverty. Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen called it ‘a marvelously insightful book by the two outstanding researchers on the real nature of poverty.’ The US magazine Foreign Policy named her as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world in May 2008. In 2010, Foreign Policy again named her to its list of top 100 global thinkers. She was named one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world in April 2011.
Her great academic achievements are exemplified by her list of publications, of which many are heavily cited (as an illustration: her total number of citations is more than 40,000, in 2017 she had 6,200 citations. Her h-index in Google Scholar is 78, implying that 78 of her studies have been citied at least 78 times.). While most of her publications have appeared in top-5 economics journals, she has also published in other top journals like Science and PNAS.
Duflo has also contributed to the profession by serving as a co-editor of the Review of Economics and Statistics and the Journal of Development Economics. She is the founding editor of the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics and is a member of the editorial committee of the Annual Review of Economics.
She has already received many honors. In 2010 she received the John Bates Clark Medal for economists under 40 who made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge. This prize is sometimes labeled as ‘the Nobel prize for economists under 40’. She won the 2014 Infosys Prize in Social Science-Economics. She received an honorary doctorate from the Université catholique de Louvain in 2010. In 2009 she was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, otherwise known as a "genius" grant. In 2009 she was selected as the first recipient of the Calvó-Armengol International Prize. In 2005, Le Monde, Cercle des économistes awarded her the Best Young French Economist prize. She was awarded the Elaine Bennett Research Prize by the American Economic Association in 2002. She received the 2015 Princess of Asturias Social Sciences award in Spain.