Two decades of J-PAL: Revolutionising development economics through evidence-based solutions

Co-founding directors of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, and Iqbal Dhaliwal, J-PAL global executive director, share the philosophy and insights from the lab's twenty years of scientific evaluations of economic development interventions.


Two decades ago, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo embarked on a mission to revolutionize development economics. Their brainchild, The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), is now an international powerhouse of research and policy influence. Reflecting on the journey, the Nobel laureates elaborate on the evolution and impact of J-PAL’s approach, which has ushered in an era of evidence-based solutions in development economics.

Shaping the Discourse in Development Economics

At the core of J-PAL’s philosophy lies a commitment to testable propositions and hard evidence. Banerjee and Duflo attribute the organization’s success to this scientific approach. The Nobel Prize, according to Banerjee, recognized not just their individual achievements, but the larger movement spurred by J-PAL towards evidence-based policy decisions.

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