MIT field economist to discuss anti-poverty programs in Indonesia on November 16

MIT field economist to discuss anti-poverty programs in Indonesia on November 16

Benjamin Olken, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will present “How to Find the Poor:  Field Experiments on Targeting Anti-Poverty Programs in Indonesia” on Friday, November 16, at 3:00 p.m. The seminar, one among many events celebrating Georgia State University’s International Education Week, will be held at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies building at 14 Marietta Street in room 749.

Olken’s research focuses on the political economy of developing countries, with a particular focus on corruption. He directs the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, commonly known as J-PAL, which is a network of 70 professors working in the area of randomized evaluations in universities around the globe. Its mission is to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is based on scientific evidence.

Olken is involved in several randomized evaluations in Indonesia that seek to reduce corruption and improve targeting of programs that provide local public goods to villages. His presentation will focus on a field experiment in 400 Indonesian villages which empirically tests whether ordeal mechanisms improve the targeting of aid programs to the poor.

Olken is associate editor of the Journal of Development Economics. His articles have been published in the American Economic Review, the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics and the Journal of Political Economy. He holds a B.A. from Yale University and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

For more information on Professor Olken and his work, go to