2019 DRI Annual Conference Announced - November 7th

Join DRI on November 7th for our 2019 Annual Conference focused on the theme “From Local to Global: The External Validity Challenge of Experiments.”

Event Overview:

In recent decades, the use of experimental and quasi-experimental methods has become widespread across a range of fields in economics, such as labor, education, health, and especially development. The emphasis on experimental and quasi-experimental methods was driven by an attempt to generate internally valid results, i.e., accurate estimates of the impact of the policy of interest in the time and place the experiment was implemented. But the now global scale of experiments points to the central question of external validity: to what extent and how can we generalize the knowledge generated by experiments beyond the setting of the experiment to other contexts?


  • Susan Athey, Stanford University

  • Sylvain Chassang, New York University

  • Rajeev Dehejia, New York University

  • Michael Kremer, Harvard University

  • Rohini Pande, Yale University

  • Cyrus Samii, New York University

See more.


IEA Interviews William Easterly

Professor William Easterly, Professor of Economics at New York University, sat down with Professor Philip Booth (Academic and Research Director at the IEA) to discuss his views on foreign aid and how it affects development.

Professor William Easterly, Professor of Economics at New York University, sat down with Professor Philip Booth (Academic and Research Director at the IEA) to discuss his views on foreign aid and how it affects development.

Happy Holidays to Ordinary People

Cyrenius, the governor of Syria, was excited about the new regional development plan he had prepared for the area covering Syria, Galilee, and Judea. Cyrenius had already ascended rapidly through the Roman bureaucracy, but he expected this new program meeting the Roman Development Goals to make his name. Caesar Augustus had even agreed to raise taxes to pay for the development plan.


Everyone went to their places of birth to register and pay taxes. Mary was a peasant espoused to a carpenter named Joseph from Nazareth, even though she was already pregnant.  Mary and Joseph went to their birthplace of Bethlehem. The innkeeper took one look at the rough carpenter and the very pregnant Mary and told them there were no rooms left. He reluctantly agreed to let them sleep in the stable with the animals, where Mary went into labor.

Cyrenius’ name did end up in one of history’s most read books, but not for the reason he expected.  The newborn baby was going to be a little more famous than Cyrenius, even more than Caesar Augustus.

Regardless of religious beliefs, many would agree it is a great story. Perhaps rulers and elites at the top should not take themselves so seriously, because some of the biggest changes in history can come from what appear to be just really ordinary people.

Happy Holidays from the Development Research Institute.

Wrap-up: Facebook Q&A with Dennis Whittle and William Easterly

"The People"- Can they be Trusted?

Last Wednesday, December 16, the DRI hosted its first Facebook Q&A with resident scholar and co-founder of Feedback Labs, Dennis Whittle, and DRI co-director, William Easterly

They discussed feedback, accountability and the future of development.

Click below for a link to the post. And a big thanks to everyone who participated!

Welcome to the DRI's first Facebook Q&A! William Easterly and Dennis Whittle will be chatting live for 1 hour about...

Posted by NYU Development Research Institute on Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Job Opening: Student Program Assistant

We are announcing a job opening for a Student Program Assistant at DRI.

Summary: The Development Research Institute is seeking a Student Program Assistant to support research and accompanying policy briefings on said research. Policy briefs will include reports, social media outreach and lectures.  Our ideal candidate is self-motivated and a problem solver; creative thinker with strong writing skills; flexible and comfortable with technology; and is available to work throughout the NYU 2015 fall semester. This position mixes research and creative responsibilities. 


  • Primary responsibilities will include: 
    - Develop policy briefs using reports, interactive media, social media, blog posts, and lectures to communicate research findings to academic, practitioner, and policy-focused communities. 

  • Secondary responsibilities will include: 
    -Conduct quantitative research 
    -Assemble and graph data using Excel
    -Manipulate economic data and/or create new variables using Excel
    -Conduct qualitative research 
    -Assemble information in clear, concise reports
    -Writing and updating content for website and social media and monitoring online presence

Required Qualifications

  • Demonstrated interest in, knowledge of, and/or experience in development economics, studies, and/or current affairs
  • Strong writing skills are essential
  • Demonstrated capacity for blogging software, photo, video and audio editing software
  • Basic quantitative analysis 
  • Strong online research skills
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Experience with Microsoft Office and Excel

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Currently enrolled in an NYU graduate program
  • Preferred Education: BA in Economics; current Economics M.A. student 

Salary/Hours: Salary is $15- $20 per hour depending on skills and experience. Hours will be completed during the regular business day, in the Africa House offices (NYU campus, 14A Washington Mews). 20 hours per week, according to a regular, mutually-agreed-upon schedule. Start date is January 4, 2016 . 

To Apply: Please send a brief cover letter specifically addressing how you meet the above criteria along with your resume and short writing sample to Kellie Leeson at kcl390@nyu.edu and Marian Tes at mct300@nyu.edu by December 8, 2015. The subject line of your email should read: “Last name, First name: DRI Program Assistant”.

Benefits and salary are competitive. Location is Washington Mews, on the NYU campus.

About Our Organization: The Development Research Institute (DRI) is devoted to rigorous, scholarly research on the economic development and growth of poor countries. An independent and non-partisan organization, DRI is led by NYU Professors William Easterly and Yaw Nyarko and is home to a growing team of researchers. DRI seeks to engage the academic world and the wider public about effective solutions to world poverty, expanding 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. See http://nyudri.org/ and http://aidwatchers.com/.

2015 Annual Conference - General Invitation

NYU Development Research Institute 2015 Annual Conference

Beyond the Nation State: 
How traders, migrants and ethnic networks are driving economic growth in the developing world

Friday, November 13, 2015 from 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Kimmel Center Rosenthal Pavilion
10th Floor, 60 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012

Conference Agenda:

8:30am ­– 9:00am Registration and Breakfast

9:00am – 9:15am Conference Introduction by NYU Provost David W. McLaughlin

9:15am – 10:45am Session 1:

  • Diego Daruich (New York University), William Easterly (New York University), and Ariell Reshef (University of Virginia) - "The Surprising Size and Instability of Hyper-Specialization in Exports”

10:45am - 11:15am Coffee break

11:15am - 12:45pm Session 2:

  • Yaw Nyarko (New York University) - “Cross-border Technology Flows for Success: The African Mobile Revolution

  • Michael Clemens (Center for Global Development), *paper with Lant Pritchett (Harvard Kennedy School) - “The Economic Case for Migration Restrictions"

12:45am - 1:45pm Lunch

1:45pm - 3:15pm Session 3:

  • Hui Kian Kwee (University of Toronto) -  "Socio-Religious Institutions and Economic Migration: Case Studyof the Bai Clansmen from Anxi, Fujian in Southeast Asia, c. 1880-present"

  • Cheikh Anta Babou (University of Pennsylvania) - "The Murid Ethic and the Spirit of Entrepreneurship: Faith, Business and Mobility among Murid Immigrants in Gabon"

3:15pm - 3:30pm Coffee break

3:30pm - 5pm Session 4:

  • Stelios Michalopoulos (Brown University), *paper with Louis Putterman and David N. Weil (Brown University) - "The Influence of Ancestral Lifeways on Individual Economic Outcomes in Sub­-Saharan Africa"

  • Leonard Wantchekon (Princeton University) - “Education and Long-term Social Mobility in Benin”

William Easterly's Talks

Professor Easterly, 2015 Hayek Lecturer and Professor of Economics and New York University, sat down with Professor Philip Booth and ieaTV to discuss the role - for better or worse - of institutions in developing countries and poverty relief efforts.

Professor William Easterly, Professor of Economics at New York Univeristy and Co-Director of the New York University Development Research Institute, was the speaker at the 2015 Annual Hayek Memorial Lecture.

He spoke on the topic of "The Tyranny of Experts: Foreign Aid versus Freedom for the World's Poor", and argued that more freedom provides better outcome for poorer countries than any number of technocratic solutions.

Speaker: Professor William Easterly Recorded on 8 December 2014 in Old Theatre, Old Building. The admirable fight against global poverty has a blind spot on democracy and human rights, which are both good in themselves and also the most well-proven and lasting path out of poverty.

William Easterly, professor of economics at New York University and co-director of the NYU Development Research Institute comes to the Watson Institute to discuss his new book "The Tyranny of Experts". Easterly discusses the growing problem of poverty in developing countries and the role dictatorship plays.

Why does poverty persist across so much of the world, despite billions of dollars in international aid and the efforts of development professionals? William Easterly's answer, as proposed in his new book, The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor, is a lack of respect for liberty-not just on the part of governments of impoverished countries but also, more provocatively, on the part of the development experts.

Over the last century, global poverty has largely been viewed as a technical problem that merely requires the right "expert" solutions. Yet all too often, experts recommend solutions that fix immediate problems without addressing the systemic political factors which created them in the first place.

NYU professor William Easterly visits Google's Mountain View, CA, headquarters to discuss his book, "The White Man's Burden." This event took on April 6, 2006, as part of the Authors@Google series.

Which countries will be the economic success stories of 2013? William Easterly, professor of economics at New York University, and Dambisa Moyo, author of "Winner Take All", consider the fate of the emerging economies in the near future in a discussion moderated by The Economist's Zanny Minton Beddoes at The Economist's World in 2013 Festival on December 8th 2012.

The motion: "Aid to Africa is doing more harm than good" Moderator: Brian Lehrer Speaking for the motion: George Ayittey, William Easterly and David Rieff Speaking against the motion: C. Payne Lucas, John McArthur and Gayle Smith IQ2US marks the launch of Oxford-style debating -- one motion, one moderator, three advocates for the motion, three against -- in New York City.

Over the last century, global poverty has largely been viewed as a technical problem that merely requires the right "expert" solutions. Yet all too often, experts recommend solutions that fix immediate problems without addressing the systemic political factors that created them in the first place.