Iqbal Dhaliwal

Global executive director and board member, J-PAL; Scientific director, J-PAL South Asia

Iqbal Dhaliwal is the global executive director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and scientific director of J-PAL South Asia. As J-PAL’s global executive director, Iqbal works with the board of directors to develop the organisation’s strategic vision, and with the leadership of the seven regional offices to coordinate J-PAL’s worldwide research, policy outreach, capacity building and operations. He also works alongside J-PAL’s co-founder and co-director Esther Duflo as the scientific director of J-PAL South Asia. In terms of research, he is the co-author with Rema Hanna of a large, five-district randomised evaluation on improving health outcomes and service provider attendance in rural India.

Iqbal has held a number of positions at J-PAL since joining in 2009, including deputy executive director (2013–2017), founding director of the policy and communications group (2009–2017), interim director of the research, education and training vertical (2016–2017) and co-chair of the 'Governance initiative' (2010–2014).

In addition to his work with J-PAL, Iqbal is co-chair with Abhijit Banerjee of the Innovation in Government Initiative (IGI) and co-chair with Shawn Cole and Lars Vilhuber of the Innovations in Data and Experiments for Action Initiative (IDEA). He is also a board member of J-PAL and the non-governmental organisations Noora Health and Rocket Learning.

Prior to joining J-PAL at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Iqbal worked for economic and strategy consultancy firms in Boston and Washington DC. He began his career in public service as a member of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), in which he served as a deputy secretary in a state government, director of a statewide welfare department and CEO of a publicly owned company.

Iqbal has received numerous awards and recognition throughout his academic and research career. In 2019, the Government of Punjab, India awarded him the Guru Nanak Devji Achievers Award for his ‘contributions to the field of economics and poverty alleviation’. He received the Dean's Fellowship at Princeton University and the gold medal for standing first in the college in his undergraduate programme.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Delhi, a master’s in economics from the Delhi School of Economics and a master’s of public administration in international development from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.

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