J-PAL co-founders celebrated among the Carnegie Corporation’s 2024 Class of Great Immigrants


Community Jameel congratulates Professor Abhijit Banerjee and Professor Esther Duflo, co-founders of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and 2019 Nobel laureates in economics, on their inclusion in the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s 2024 Class of Great Immigrants.

Abhijit was born in Mumbai, India, and went to the United States to pursue a PhD in economics at Harvard University, which he completed in 1988. He is now the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  

Esther was born in Paris, France, and came to the United States to study at MIT, where she completed her doctorate in economics in 1999 and is now the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics.

In 2003, Abhijit and Esther co-founded J-PAL, a global research centre working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. By advancing the use of randomised control trials for evaluating the effectiveness of strategies for fighting global poverty, and then working with partners to scale up the most effective programmes and policies, J-PAL has helped touch the lives of over 600 million people worldwide.

Community Jameel has supported J-PAL since 2005 and we continue to collaborate, including on the European Social Inclusion Initiative; the Evidence to Policy initiative, which has seen the launch of the Egypt Impact Lab and the Morocco Innovation and Evidence Lab; and the J-PAL Air and Water Labs in Egypt, India and South Africa.  

In 2019, Abhijit and Esther and their long-time partner Michael Kremer received the Nobel prize in economics for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty. 

In honour of its founder, Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish immigrant to the United States, the Carnegie Corporation of New York annually – on 4 July, the United States’ Independence Day – recognises an extraordinary group of immigrants who have made notable contributions to the progress of American society.

As well as Abhijit and Esther, other honourees in the 2024 cohort included memoirist Leila Ahmed, rap musician Bas Hamad, NVIDIA founder and chief executive officer Jensen Huang and industrial designer and chancellor of the Royal College of Art (home to CLIMAVORE x Jameel at RCA) Sir Jony Ive.

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