The youngest winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics will dive into some of the thorniest social and political problems of our time on Feb. 16.

Esther Duflo will deliver the 2022 Virginia Tech PPE Distinguished Public Lecture from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The livestream event is free and open to the public.

“We are thrilled to host Professor Duflo at Virginia Tech as part of our Distinguished Public Lecture series,” said Michael Moehler, director of the Kellogg Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. “Her groundbreaking work in development economics demonstrates the importance of research in the field of philosophy, politics, and economics.”   

Advance registration is required and can be accessed through the Kellogg Center website.

Duflo won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2019 along with co-researchers Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer. The laureates developed and implemented an experimental approach to alleviating poverty around the world. Their award-winning research centers on practical ways to improve education deficiencies and child health based on effective intervention strategies.

As a direct result of one of their studies, more than 5 million Indian children have benefitted from effective programs of remedial tutoring in schools, according to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The researchers’ work also led to subsidies for preventive health care introduced in several countries. 

“In just two decades,” according to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, “their new experiment-based approach has transformed development economics, which is now a flourishing field of research.”

In addition to being the prize’s youngest winner at 46, Duflo was the second woman ever to win the Nobel Prize in Economics. Political economist Elinor Ostrom was the first.

Duflo is the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics in the Department of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

She is also co-founder and co-director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). She is a research associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research, serves on the board of the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development, and is director of the development economics program of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Duflo’s research focuses on microeconomic issues in developing nations, including education, access to finance, health, and policy evaluation. She seeks to understand the causes of poverty and means to eradicate it.

Duflo was honored as a MacArthur Fellow in 2009 and received the John Bates Clark Medal as the best economist under 40 a year later.

In her lecture, Duflo will explore insights from her recent coauthored book, “Good Economics for Hard Times.”

The PPE Distinguished Public Lecture Series seeks to foster dialogue among faculty, students, and the general public about important social problems. Previous speakers have included Martha C. Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago and Kyoto Prize winner; Amartya Sen, the Thomas W. Lamont University Professor at Harvard University and the 1998 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics; and Dan Ariely, the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University.

The Kellogg Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics integrates research, teaching, and outreach to develop comprehensive solutions to complex interdisciplinary decision-making problems, solutions that are not only economically sound, but also socially, ethically, and politically informed. The center represents a partnership between the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and the College of Science.

“The Kellogg Center offers an innovative research and learning environment that allows faculty and students to work collaboratively on solving world problems of today and tomorrow,” said Moehler. “We look forward to being inspired by Professor Duflo and learning directly from her groundbreaking work.”

Written by Andrew Adkins