The 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel was awarded to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.” Many welcomed this award as it both increased the diversity of those who received it and recognised the recent trend in economics to give more weight to evidence than theory.
Of course, those who followed our #NotTheNobel campaign last year will know this is not a ‘real’ Nobel Prize, but it still gives the winners huge authority. This is likely to further ensure that their experimental approach is viewed as the ‘gold standard’ for evidence-based poverty alleviation policy. And maybe the status of evidence in economics more broadly will improve. So what’s not to like?
Naila Kabeer, Professor of Gender and Development at the LSE, has examined the validity of this experimental approach and found many shortcomings. She will show that a seemingly objective evidential approach is far from it and discuss what an evidence-based approach to poverty alleviation should look like.
Steve Mandel will respond based on his experience as a practicing development economist.
This will be followed by open discussion then a wine reception and networking.
Naila is joint professor in the departments of International Development and Gender Studies at the London School of Economics. She is a feminist economist and works on various issues relating to gender, poverty, livelihoods, labour markets and social protection. She is on the editorial board of Feminist Economics, Development and Change, Gender and Development and on the Advisory Board of the Women’s Rights Program of the Open Society Foundations.
After spending more than 20 years as a development economist working both as a civil servant in Africa and a consultant in Africa, South Asia, Pacific and FSU/Eastern Europe, specialising in transport, national and sectoral planning, aid management and budget reform, Steve joined the New Economics Foundation where he worked on Third World Debt, international financial institutions and reform of international financial architecture. He is now a freelance consultant working on these issues and a research associate of the Department of International Development at Birmingham University and a member of the Green Economics Institute.