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An independent and non-partisan organization, DRI is led by NYU Professors William Easterly and Yaw Nyarko.
Founded in 2006, the Development Research Institute is currently home to a growing team of researchers and students.
Through our work, we seek to expand the number and diversity of serious commentators on the state of foreign aid and development. Our ultimate goal is to have a positive impact on the lives of the poor, who deserve the benefit of high-quality, clear-eyed, hard-headed economic research applied to the problems of world poverty.
Read more about DRI in the media.
William Easterly is Professor of Economics at New York University and co-director of the NYU Development Research Institute, which won the 2009 BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge in Development Cooperation Award. He is the author of three books: The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor (2014), The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good (2006), which won the FA Hayek Award from the Manhattan Institute, and The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics (2001).
He has published more than 60 peer-reviewed academic articles, and has written columns and reviews for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Review of Books, and Washington Post. He has served as Co-Editor of the Journal of Development Economics and as Director of the blog Aid Watch. He is a Research Associate of NBER, senior fellow at BREAD, and nonresident Senior Fellow at Brookings. Foreign Policy magazine named him among the Top 100 Global Public Intellectuals in 2008 and 2009, and Thomson Reuters listed him as one of Highly Cited Researchers of 2014. He was named among 100 Scientist Stars of Twitter by Science magazine. He is also the 11th most famous native of Bowling Green, Ohio.
Yaw Nyarko is a professor of Economics at New York University, and one of the most highly ranked African academic economists in the world. A theoretical economist, his current work focuses on models where the economic actors engage in active learning about their environments and human capital models of economic growth and development. He is the author of many published research papers and the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including many from the National Science Foundation. He is the Associate Editor of the Journal of Economic Theory, and was previously the Associate Editor of Economic Theory. He has been a consultant to many organizations including the World Bank, the United Nations, and the Social Science Research Council.
Kellie C. Leeson
Kellie C. Leeson joined the Development Research Institute at NYU as Managing Director in March 2015. Her work includes managing and coordinating DRI research, external relations, social media, and events. Prior to joining DRI, she received her M.A. in International and Comparative Education, with a concentration in policy and financing from Teachers College, Columbia University.
She worked for fifteen years in the humanitarian world primarily in East Africa at the International Rescue Committee and Concern Worldwide working on refugee issues, with a focus on humanitarian action in urban centers. She also worked in Burkina Faso with a USAID contractor on reproductive health programming and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina and the Central African Republic (CAR). She has lived in Burkina Faso, CAR, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco and Russia and speaks French. She also holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in International Studies.
(joint with Africa House and CTED)
Marian joined DRI in May 2012. In 2011, she earned her M.A. in International Education at NYU Steinhardt School of Education, Culture and Human Development. She received her B.A. in History and Peace & Conflict Studies from Colgate University. Prior to joining DRI, she was the project coordinator for a research project that sought to improve low-income children’s chances for success in school by targeting their socioemotional behavior through a comprehensive, classroom-based intervention at Head Start. She’s also worked at various non-profits and volunteered on projects including Opportunities for Equitable Access to Quality Education, the Council of State Governments’ Justice Center, Generation Rwanda, and AIDS Walk in different capacities including development, communications, event planning, grant management, and preliminary data analysis.
Laura Trucco has a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, and a B.A and M.A. in Economics from Universidad de San Andrés (Argentina). She is also a Harvard Academy Scholar.
Her research focuses on governance in developing countries. Among others, her current work looks at the effect of political turnover on bureaucrats’ turnover and service delivery, the relevance of land property rights on the extent of clientelism, and the relationship between citizens’ complaints and government effectiveness.
Udit Thakur joined the Development Research Institute in April 2015, and assists in the coordination and management of research, programming and public outreach. He also writes for outside publications, on topics of economic and political development, foreign policy and democracy. Prior to joining DRI, he worked for two years as a journalist in India, first for Scroll.in; and then as a freelancer, reporting on stories across South Asia. His writing has appeared in The Daily Beast, Foreign Policy, The Christian Science Monitor, Caravan (India), The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Monitor, The Scribbler, The Center for a New American Security's Counter-terrorism Blog, Scroll.in, and The New York Time's India Ink Blog. He holds a BA in International Relations from American University, Washington D.C., with concentrations in International Development and Comparative Religion.
DRI'S VISITING SCHOLARS:
Noble Laureate, Angus Deaton is the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Economics Department at Princeton University. His main current research areas are in health, wellbeing, and economic development.
He holds both American and British citizenship. In Britain he taught at Cambridge University and the University of Bristol. He is also a corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of the Econometric Society and, in 1978, was the first recipient of the Society's Frisch Medal. He was President of the American Economic Association in 2009. In 2012 he was awarded the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award. In April 2014 he was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences on April 28, 2015. He is the recipient of the 2015 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.
His current research focuses on the determinants of health in rich and poor countries, as well as on the measurement of poverty in India and around the world. He also maintains a long-standing interest in the analysis of household surveys. To view information about his research on India and world poverty, health, or household surveys, click each corresponding link.
Helen Epstein is Visiting Professor of Human Rights and Global Public Health at Bard College. She was a fellow of the Open Society Foundations in 2013-2014. Her articles have appeared in The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, The Lancet and elsewhere. Her book The Invisible Cure: Why We Are Losing the Fight against AIDS in Africa was a New York Times notable book of 2007. She has also served as a con sultant for numerous organizations including UNICEF, The World Bank and Human Rights Watch.
Ross Levine is the Willis H. Booth Chair in Banking and Finance at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Milken Institute, Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Ross Levine completed his undergraduate studies at Cornell University in 1982 and received his Ph.D. in economics from UCLA in 1987. He worked at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System until 1990, when he moved to the World Bank. At the Bank, he managed and conducted research and operational programs. After teaching at the University of Virginia, Professor Levine became the Curtis Carlson Professor of Finance at the University of Minnesota, where he worked from 1999 until 2005. From 2005 through 2012, he worked at Brown University, where he was the James and Merryl Tisch Professor of Economics and Director of the William R. Rhodes Center for International Economics and Finance. Professor Levine’s work focuses on the linkages between financial sector policies, the operation of financial systems, and the functioning of the economy.
Dennis Whittle is co-founder of GlobalGiving, where he was CEO from 2000-2010. Currently he is Director and Co-Founder of Feedback Labs. He has served recently as Executive Chairman of Ashoka Changemakers, Robin Richards Donohoe Professor of the Practice and Social Entrepreneur in Residence at UNC-Chapel Hill, Visiting Lecturer at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, and Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development. He is founder and President of The Whittle Group.
Previously, Dennis was an economist at the World Bank (1986-2000), where he lived and/or worked for many years in Indonesia and Russia. His team there also created the Innovation Marketplace in 1998 and the Development Marketplace in early 2000. In 1984-85, Dennis worked for the Asian Development Bank and USAID in the Philippines, where he was an extra in one of Chuck Norris's best movies, Missing in Action (1984).
In his formative years, Dennis was a short-order cook and busboy at several restaurants, including the late Oasis Restaurant in Leitchfield, KY and the late Porthole Restaurant in Chapel Hill, NC.
DRI is affiliated with Africa House, an interdisciplinary institute at NYU devoted to the study of economic, political, and social issues on the African continent, as well as contemporary African art.
DRI also works with the Center for Technology and Economic Development (CTED), located at NYU in Abu Dhabi. CTED combines economic principles, technological advances, and human-centric design to create innovative solutions for the problems experienced in emerging regions.
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