Buffett Institute launches Global Poverty Research Lab

Ally Mauch, Assistant Campus Editor

Northwestern’s Buffett Institute for Global Studies launched a research lab aimed at using “empirical evidence to address the challenges of overcoming poverty and to improve well-being in the developing world,” according to a Thursday news release.

The Global Poverty Research Lab’s founders, Kellogg Prof. Dean Karlan and economics Prof. Chris Udry, both study development economics.

“There’s a lot of energy and a commitment from the top to be a leader in development,” Karlan said in the release. “The Buffett Institute is a manifestation of that energy. We’re hoping this (lab) will be an inflection point for us, to be able to do work at a much bigger and better scale.”

The lab will research geographic and sectoral “clusters,” the release said, and will feature specific countries or topics, such as financial inclusion and social protection. Initial research will focus on the Philippines and Ghana, according to the release.

The lab will work closely with Innovations for Poverty Action, a nonprofit organization founded by Karlan that “discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems.”

NU undergraduate and graduate students will be able to work in the lab as assistants to conduct field research and develop “competencies to become full-time contributors to the lab’s work after graduation,” according to the release.

“The creation of the lab marks a new era in the Buffett Institute’s commitment to social science research on tough global issues and implications for policy,” Bruce Carruthers, director of the Buffett Institute, said in the release.

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