With rigorous economic research and practical policy solutions, we focus on the issues and institutions that are critical to global development. Explore our core themes and topics to learn more about our work.
In timely and incisive analysis, our experts parse the latest development news and devise practical solutions to new and emerging challenges. Our events convene the top thinkers and doers in global development.
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a 2019 co-recipient of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. In 2003 he founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), along with Esther Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan and remains one of the directors of the lab. In 2009 J-PAL won the BBVA Foundation "Frontier of Knowledge" award in the development cooperation category. Banerjee is a past president of the Bureau for the Research in the Economic Analysis of Development, a Research Associate of the NBER, a CEPR research fellow, International Research Fellow of the Kiel Institute, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society and has been a Guggenheim Fellow and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow. He received the Infosys Prize 2009 in Social Sciences and Economics. His areas of research are development economics and economic theory. He has authored two books as well as a large number of articles and is the editor of a third book. He finished his first documentary film, "The name of the disease" in 2006.
This is a reply from Hugh Sinclair to my review of his book. If you haven't read the book, I think you will get a good sense of his views and style from this post. ---David Roodman
Fury and delight: I thank David for performing “due diligence” on my book, and am pleased to see genuinely new issues appear to be attracting attention, long over-due perhaps. Identifying where yet more scrutiny is required in the embattled microfinance sector can only be a constructive development. The mysteriously over-looked principal-agent problem is indeed the central theme of my whistleblowing book, and to refer to my suggestions as laughably conservative may be premature. I am suggesting a new degree of scrutiny and regulation be applied to those entrusted to manage a significant proportion of capital flows to MFIs. Start asking too many questions about their activities and impact, or, God forbid, regulate the likes of Kiva - and such suggestions may not generate laughter amongst our trusted intermediaries.
The book is an insider’s memoir, and not a text-book. It is aimed at the non-academic audience; the (wo)man on the street, who is largely spared the subtleties of these blogs and quasi-academic debates, and yet maintains a limited, at times uninformed impression of the wonders of microfinance. Insiders know this idealism, optimism or hype, is fantasy, but the (wo)man on the street usually does not. I attempt to plug this gap. We are not all experts in everything, sometimes we have to trust the experts, but in microfinance extreme caution is required.