Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Netanyahu deletes tweet featuring photo of James Foley

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Read more

FOCUS

Lifting the veil over China's air pollution

Read more

ENCORE!

Tango Takeover in Paris

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

  • French teenage girls held over Syria jihad plans

    Read more

  • Israel pounds Gaza but phones targets with warnings

    Read more

  • Bombs across Iraq kill dozens as violence escalates

    Read more

  • Good borders make good neighbours, Merkel tells Ukraine

    Read more

  • Iceland issues aviation alert on volcano activity

    Read more

  • France will not be 'be pushed around' by Germany

    Read more

  • Libya withdraws as Africa Cup of Nations host

    Read more

  • ‘European GPS’ satellites launched into wrong orbit

    Read more

  • Video: Israel bombs kidnapping suspect’s home

    Read more

  • US brands journalist’s beheading a ‘terrorist attack’

    Read more

  • Ebola prompts Philippines to recall UN troops in Liberia

    Read more

  • Besieged by problems, Hollande faces unhappy return from summer holidays

    Read more

  • US sued over ‘deportation mill’ in New Mexico

    Read more

  • Colombian army and FARC rebels in face-to-face talks

    Read more

  • US National Guard starts to pull out of embattled Ferguson

    Read more

  • August 22, 1914: The bloodiest day in French military history

    Read more

  • US job market yet to recover from recession, says Fed Chair

    Read more

France

Renowned French economist to join Obama’s team

Text by Aude MAZOUE

Latest update : 2013-01-06

France’s Esther Duflo, a star economist who was once named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, has been nominated by US President Barack Obama to help shape US global development policy.

France’s Esther Duflo, a world renowned economist, has been nominated by US President Barack Obama to join a government body dedicated to advising the administration on global development policy.

Called the Global Development Council, the group was founded by Obama in 2010 to help shape US development efforts abroad.

While Duflo’s nomination will likely be viewed with a sense of pride in France, it comes as Obama’s leadership continues to be dogged by unflattering comparisons in the media to European-style socialism. Just Friday, the cover of financial news magazine The Economist depicted Obama wearing a beret, red neckerchief and a striped mariner shirt, under a headline that read “America turns European”. The article criticised the country’s recent fiscal-cliff deal as “lousy”, saying its mismanagement bore striking similarities to the “mess in the euro zone”.

A rising star

Esther Duflo’s CV

Esther Duflo earned a master’s degree from DELTA (now called the Paris School of Economics) in 1995 before heading to the United States to begin a PhD in Economics at the famed Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Upon completing her degree in 1999, Duflo continued on at MIT as an assistant professor of economics. She took leave from the school in 2001 to work at Princeton University for one year, before returning to MIT where she was granted tenure at the age of 29. After more than a decade in the US, Duflot was granted US citizenship in 2012.

Duflo, who was raised in a “left-leaning Protestant” family, said she became aware of economic divides and social injustice at a very early age.

“I was always conscientious of the gap between my existence and that of the world’s poor,” she told weekly French magazine l’Express in a January, 2011 article. “As a child, I was extremely troubled by the complete randomness of chance that I was born in Paris to an intellectual, middle class family, when I could have just as easily been born in Chad. It’s a question of luck. It inspired in me a sense of responsibility.”

While Duflo may feel that her privilege in life is the result of chance, President Obama’s intention to appoint her to his Global Development Council is not. Ever since completing her undergraduate studies at Paris’s prestigious Ecole Normale Supérieure in 1994, Duflo has led a distinguished career, collecting numerous academic honours and awards along the way.

One of the world’s 100 most influential people

It is by no means an exaggeration to call the now 40 year-old Duflo one of the world’s star economists. French daily Le Monde once awarded her its “Best French Young Economist Prize”, and in 2009, she was granted a MacArthur Fellowship (which has also been dubbed ‘the genius grant’). Duflo’s work also earned her the John Bates Clark medal in 2010, which is considered second only to the Nobel.

The following year, Time magazine named Duflo one of 100 most influential people in the world. The magazine applauded her for relentlessly “questioning conventional wisdom”.


“She has broken out of the ivory tower to do something economists rarely do: gather real data to see what really works in alleviating poverty,” Time wrote.

A closer look at poverty

Duflo’s research has largely focused on microeconomic issues in developing countries and looks at areas such as education, access to finance as well as health and policy evaluation. As co-founder and director of MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, Duflo has singled herself out by championing the idea that it is impossible to successfully tackle the issue of poverty without a thorough understanding of the population at hand. In other words, the devil is in the detail.

While Duflo’s work has already helped contribute to changing the way governments and organisations deal with global poverty, her potential new role as a member of the Global Development Council will allow her to have a direct impact on how the US handles such issues.

Date created : 2013-01-05

  • FRANCE

    Hollande pledges to reverse unemployment in 2013

    Read more

  • FRANCE / POVERTY

    French food aid NGO reports ‘explosion’ in demand

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Top French court overturns 75 percent tax rate for rich

    Read more

COMMENT(S)