Esther Duflo at TED

Here is Esther Duflo, this year's

John Bates Clark medal winner, giving an overview of her work on using randomized trials to evaluate development policies.

Hat tip to Shruti Rajagopolan.


Wait, you're allowed to be BOTH the world's smartest economist under 40 and utterly adorable? Good to know.

There's a typo in your text, it's Esther (not Ester).

Individually, sure, but many mosquitoes will be deprived of food. Let's not forget "the forgotten man." And why does there seem to be a strong correlation between the beliefs that that human systems have infinite carrying capacity while The Earth's natural carrying capacity has already been surpassed?

(Outstanding talk.)

"condescending and self serving"

I think in the business those are also known as "Salt water" and "Fresh water"

Do people react differently to incentive and dis-incentives?

For the case of immunization she used an incentive: free lentils.

For the mosquito net study she used a dis-incentive: make people pay $30.

Does this matter or is it a red herring? Would the immunization study have revealed different results if the control was still a free camp but the target was a camp that actually charged people $$ to be immunized?

@Ryan S. You say:

"...the risk and costs of getting a disease should be outweighed by the costs[...]to get immunized..."

i.e. the risk of getting a disease is cheaper than getting immunized.

In which case though isn't the pure economically optimal outcome "not getting immunized"?

Of course, I'm only being a devils advocate. I don't think that's the morally correct option. Or do you mean to say that the RCT is nudging the outcome to a economically non-optimal one but an ethically superior one.

@Ryan S.:

The picture of cognitively weak people being lured by small bait is quite condescending. That's what seems amiss.

@Ryan S.:

I see your point. My bad.

"no wonder economics is so irrelevant."

Err... In which world do you live in? Because economists rule this one.

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