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SHASS professorships announced

Philip S. Khoury, Kenan Sahin Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, has announced the appointment of two faculty members to named professorships.

Professor Esther Duflo will be the inaugural holder of the Abdul Latif Jameel Professorship in Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics.

This professorship was recently created with a gift from MIT alumnus Mohammed Jameel '78 and named in honor of his late father. The professorship is part of a larger gift in support of the Poverty Action Lab at MIT. For more information on Jameel's gift, visit

Duflo received the maitrise in history and economics from the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, the master's from Département et Laboratoire d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, and a Ph.D. from MIT in 1999. She then became a member of MIT's economics faculty. She was the Castle Krob Career Development Associate Professor from 2002 to 2004, and co-founded the Poverty Action Lab in 2003.

A specialist in development economics who is widely considered the leader of her generation, Duflo focuses her research on randomized evaluation, in which the impact of anti-poverty programs is rigorously evaluated by comparing randomly selected treatment and comparison groups, very much like in medical trials.

Duflo has received the Elaine Benett Prize for Research, given once every two years to the best young woman in economics; the Prix du Meilleur Jeune Economiste, awarded yearly by the Cercle des Economistes; and the Journal Le Mondée to the best French economist under 40.

Khoury has also announced the appointment of a member of the faculty of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences to a Career Development Professorship for a three-year term beginning July 1.

Muhamet Yildiz of economics is the Pentti Kouri Career Development Professor. Yildiz received his Ph.D. in economic analysis and policy from Stanford University Graduate School of Business in 2000. Appointed in 2000 as assistant professor of economics at MIT, his principal areas of research are game theory, microeconomic theory and political economics.

This professorship was established by a gift from Pentti J. K. Kouri (Ph.D. 1975), the chairman and co-founder of Kouri Capital Group Inc. This professorship is awarded on a rotating basis to nontenured economics faculty with outstanding records of scholarship.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 2, 2005 (download PDF).

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