Esther Duflo & Abhijit Banerjee: Good Economics for Hard Times
People want money yes, but they also want meaning in their life and one thing that a universal basic income doesn't do is provide people with anything close to meaning. We should restore not just people's earnings but way of living.
We had two closely related ambitions. The first one was to contribute to improving the lives of the poor, here and now. The second was to build a better understanding of how they live their lives, from the ground up, by building a fuller picture, one question at a time.
Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee were winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics for their ground-breaking work on solving global poverty. Using their innovative research based on field experiments, they have created practical tools to improve education, health and economic wellbeing. In their new book, Good Economics for Hard Times, they look at today’s seemingly insoluble problems – inequality, technological disruption, slowing growth, and accelerating climate change – to find the fresh and original solutions we need.
In conversation with UNSW professor Rosalind Dixon, they will explore how cutting-edge economics can take on these challenges and bring the world back from the brink.
ABOUT THE WALLACE WURTH LECTURE
The Wallace Wurth Lecture was first held in 1964 to commemorate the memory of the late Wallace Charles Wurth, the first President of the Council of the New South Wales University of Technology, and the first Chancellor of the University. The first lecture was delivered by the then Prime Minister of Australia, the Right Honourable Sir Robert Menzies and recent speakers have included Gail Kelly, Stan Grant and Daniel Dennett.
Esther Duflo is the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics in the Department of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a co-founder and co-director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). In her research, she seeks to understand the economic lives of the poor, with the aim to help design and evaluate social policies. She has worked on health, education, financial inclusion, environment and governance. Duflo has received numerous academic honours and prizes including 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel (with co-Laureates Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer), the Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences (2015), the A.SK Social Science Award (2015), Infosys Prize (2014), the David N. Kershaw Award (2011), a John Bates Clark Medal (2010), and a MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship (2009). With Abhijit Banerjee, she wrote Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, which won the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award in 2011 and has been translated into more than 17 languages, and the recently released Good Economics for Hard Times.
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee is the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2003 he co-founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) with Esther Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan, and he remains one of the Lab’s Directors. Banerjee is a past president of the Bureau for Research and 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. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow and a winner of the Infosys Prize. Abhijit is the author of a large number of articles and four books, including Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, which won the Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year, and Good Economics for Hard Times, both co-authored with Esther Duflo. He is the editor of three more books and has directed two documentary films. Banerjee has served on the U.N. Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Rosalind Dixon is a Professor of Law and Director of the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at UNSW Sydney. She is a graduate of UNSW and Harvard, and has taught at law schools around the world – including Harvard, Columbia, University of Chicago and National University Singapore, and is the author of a new book, with Richard Holden, From Free to Fair Markets: Liberalism after COVID out later this year. She is passionate about law and politics, and currently Director of the Pathways to Politics for Women Program at NSW.