The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab
The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) was started in June 2003 by Professors Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, and Sendhil Mullainathan at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. J-PAL serves as a focal point for development and poverty research based on randomized trials. The objective is to improve the effectiveness of poverty programs by providing policy makers with clear scientific results that help shape successful policies to combat poverty. J-PAL works with NGOs, international organizations, and others to evaluate programs and disseminate the results of high quality research. We work on issues as diverse as boosting girls' attendance at school, improving the output of farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, racial bias in employment in the US, and the role of women political leaders in India.
J-PAL was renamed in honor of Abdul Latif Jameel in October 2005.
Center for Energy and Environmental Research
The MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEPR) is sponsored by the Economics Department, the Sloan School, and the MIT Energy Laboratory. The Director of CEEPR is Paul Joskow, who holds a joint appointment in the Economics Department and the Sloan School. The Center investigates economic, regulatory, and technological issues related to energy and the environment, and is supported by corporations, trade associations, environmental organizations, and grants from foundations and government agencies. The Center holds annual meetings and conferences to discuss policy issues with business and academic economists. Regular participants in CEEPR research programs include Paul Joskow, Michael Greenstone, James Poterba, Nancy Rose, and Richard Schmalensee.
The School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative (SEII), directed by MIT Professors Joshua Angrist, David Autor, and Parag Pathak, is a research program based in the Department of Economics. Primarily a domestic initiative, SEII aims to strengthen the empirical body of work available to policymakers and to educators.
The initiative focuses on the economics of education, poverty, and the connections between human capital and the American income distribution. SEII’s diverse projects explore topics ranging from the effectiveness of charter and pilot schools to the impact of rising Chinese import competition on America’s regional labor markets. The center recently launched an expansive project partnering with the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation (STBF). This project investigates the impact of STBF's considerable post-secondary aid program on educational attainment of academically motivated, low-income students. In other ongoing work, SEII researchers are studying alternative school models in New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Texas.
The World Economy Lab
The purpose of the World Economy Laboratory (WEL), founded by the Economics Department in 1992 and directed by Olivier Blanchard and Ricardo Caballero, is to strengthen the links between the department and policy makers, central banks, and business economists.
The WEL is organized around two programs. The first, MIT-WEL, aims at developing relations with business economists. It is organized around two or three small annual meetings on specific topics of mutual interest. In the recent past, topics have included structural reform in Europe, economic developments in India, and international iquidity.
Recent meetings have taken place in New York, London, and Cambridge. The second, the Central Banks–MIT Research Network, was started in 2006 and aims at developing relations with central banks. It is organized around one annual meeting in Cambridge, and visits by central bank researchers to the department. The working group environment of the meetings is aimed at discussing policy issues at a relatively technical level.
The meetings are attended by the heads of research of many central banks around the world, as well as faculty, and students working on international finance and macroeconomics policy issues. WEL is financed by donations and by membership contributions to each of the two programs. The funds are used to organize the meetings, and to support policy-oriented research by junior faculty and students.
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