Economics serving society

Development Methodologies Chair

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To strengthen the foundations of the development that is occurring in a growing number of countries, the AFD, Paris School of Economics and PSL have created a chair in "Development Methodologies", occupied by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo. The main goal of this chair is to promote research in development economics in order to shine light on public policies in development, and particularly French policy.

Since the end of the 1990s, Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee have made crucial contributions to a current trend in development economics that focuses on reducing poverty using a new methodological approach called Randomized Controlled Trials – experimental field studies designed to better inform decision makers about which public policies to adopt. This approach, which Duflot and Banerjee have popularised, has since become indispensable in development economics, and in 2019, they were awarded the Nobel prize in economics.


Summer School 2023 : DEVELOPMENT ECONOMICS IN THE FIELD - Surveys, Measurement, and Experiments

The summer school will bring together two groups of participants:
-  Researchers with demonstrated interest and ability to incorporate impact evaluation methods into their research work;
-  Policymakers involved in the commission of evaluations or in the use of their results to guide decision-making.

In order to meet the needs and interests of the two groups of participants, the Summer School will be articulated around two teaching tracks:
-  An academic track aimed at reinforcing the knowledge and good practices of participants who are already well versed in the methodological foundations of evaluations of impact;
-  A policy track aimed at showing the role of impact assessment in the design of evidence-based public policies by illustrating the process from the production of evidence to the adoption of policies.
These two modules will be supplemented by common sessions bringing together the two groups of participants, in order to facilitate exchanges between researchers and policymakers around practical cases.
More information on the Summer School’s schedule and participation requirements is available on the event’s web page.


The research work of the new chair in "Development Methodologies" will explore the four key pledges of the strategic plan of the Agence Francaise de Development (AFD): the environment, in line with the commitment “100% Accord de Paris”; education, economic inclusion, and gender, in line with the “100% lien social” (100% social connection); the policies of prevention of crime and violence, in line with the “3D” commitment; and the mobilisation of a global research network with the capacity to act in the AFD’s intervention zones in order to foster and support research partnerships, in line with the “réflexe partenarial” (partnership model) commitment. In doing so, the research work contributes to reflections on “the world to come”, which have been intensified by the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, more than ever, questions about the sustainability of our models, the impacts of globalisation, and economic equity are driving research and inviting public actors to consider the paths that they are taking.

The research of the "Development Methodologies" Research Chair will take several forms: (i) the continuation of the work being done by J-PAL (the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab), a research centre that aims to reduce poverty by using innovative public policy evaluation techniques, (ii) research publications, and (iii) contributions to conferences, seminars, and development economics summer schools.

The research strategy of the "Development Methodologies" Research Chair thus rests on innovative public policy evaluation methods and the dissemination of the results through a number of different channels.

Through their work, the researchers are enriching thought and debate about development economics, offering new methodological approaches, and leading an international university network that contributes to the shaping of French development policy. The work of the "Development Methodologies" Research Chair thus contributes to France’s development mission as well as to increasing awareness and improving education about development issues.

The research results will be presented biannually to the AFD, through the CA/Comex or to AFD staff, with reports on the work in progress and its implications for AFD strategy and operations, and will also be presented in an annual report to be published by the "Development Methodologies" Research Chair.

Chair’s holders

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Abhijit Banerjee – Professor at MIT, Visiting Professor at PSE and PSL.

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Esther Duflo – Professor at MIT, Visiting Professor at PSE and PSL.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee comprises the chair’s co-investigators and representatives of the partners.

The PSE partners representatives are:
Daniel Cohen – President of the Administrative Council, Founding Member of PSE.
Jean-Olivier Hairault – Director of the PSE, Professor at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, and PSE.
Les représentants des partenaires pour l’AFD:
Thomas Mélonio – Executive Director of the Innovation, Research and Expertise section.
Cécile Valadier – Deputy-Director of the department of Economic Research and Public Policy.

Fellow Researchers

Researchers associated with the chair include members of J-PAL: Luc Behaghel, Clément de Chaisemartin, Bruno Crépon, Marc Gurgand, Élise Huillery, Karen Macours and Roland Rathelot, and members of the Thematic Development group in PSE.

PSE Partners

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L’Agence Française de Développement (AFD), is a public institution that implements France’s development policies, working to combat poverty and to encourage sustainable development. In 2020, AFD funded and supported more than 4,000 projects in the French overseas territories and 115 other countries, in the fields of climate, biodiversity, peace, education, urban development, health, and governance, supporting France’s commitments to promoting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

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Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL), Located in the heart of Paris, the PSL University creates dialogue among all the fields of knowledge, innovation and creation in the sciences, the humanities and the social sciences, engineering and the arts. Selective and committed to equal opportunity, it uses the latest results of its research to train researchers, artists, entrepreneurs and managers who are aware of their personal and collective social responsibilities. With 2,900 teacher-researchers, 17,000 students, 140 laboratories and a dozen incubators, Fab Labs and communal working spaces, PSL is a university on a human scale that is ranked as one of the top 50 universities in the world. PSL is composed of the following institutions:
Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art dramatique - PSL | Dauphine - PSL | École nationale des chartes - PSL | École nationale supérieure de Chimie de Paris - PSL | École nationale supérieure des Mines de Paris - PSL | École normale supérieure - PSL | École Pratique des Hautes Études - PSL | ESPCI Paris - PSL | Observatoire de Paris - PSL | Collège de France, Institut Curie | CNRS, Inserm, Inria.