French-American economist Esther Duflo jointly won the Nobel Prize in Economics along with husband Abhijeet Banerjee and American economist Michael Kremer for their “experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”. The 46-year-old Duflo is only the second woman to have won the coveted prize. Born in Paris to a mathematician father and a pediatrician mother, Duflo studied History & Economics before obtaining her Phd in Economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and went on to become its youngest faculty. She is also the co-founder and professor at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) that studies the effectiveness of poverty alleviation programmes using scientific methods to combat poverty.
Duflo conducted field studies with Banerjee
using randomised trials in India and Africa. By rejecting blatant generalisations about the poor, the duo conducted studies about what poor think in terms of education, health, food & finance. She also successfully conducted experiments in 120 non-profit schools in India to tackle teacher absenteeism. Delhi govt’s Chunauti Scheme which checks student dropout rates in the government schools is said to have been inspired by the works of Duflo & Banerjee. Duflo is the recipient of several awards & honours such as Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences, the A.SK Social Science Award (2015),
Infosys Prize (2014) among others. She has also written a wide of range of journals & books