Politics
FRANCE-EDUCATION-POVERTY...French Esther Duflo, 36, professor of Economics at MIT University and a founding member of the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) gives an inaugurational lecture of the the international chair for knowledge on poverty, at the College de France (a major French Education Institute) in Paris, on January 8, 2009.  AFP PHOTO PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images) FRANCE-EDUCATION-POVERTY...French Esther Duflo, 36, professor of Economics at MIT University and a founding member of the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) gives an inaugurational lecture of the the international chair for knowledge on poverty, at the College de France (a major French Education Institute) in Paris, on January 8, 2009. AFP PHOTO PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)  

Obama’s new French economic adviser has ‘faith in redistribution’

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Patrick Howley
Political Reporter

Duflo has been praised for her “faith in redistribution.” At least one report has also identified her as a “socialist.”

“She is a left-of-center French intellectual with faith in redistribution and she subscribes to the optimistic notion that tomorrow might turn out better than today. She is in large measure responsible for a new, and fashionable, strand of academic study that combines these instincts,” according to a 2010 New Yorker profile.

“She is a statist,” Cato Institute senior fellow Daniel Mitchell confirmed to The Daily Caller.

Duflo has been widely praised in media and academic circles for adhering to an “evidence-based” research strategy for determining how best to help the world’s poor.

“This approach, refined in India, has a natural audience in Obama’s Washington. The administration, which insisted on efficacy studies for treatment in Obamacare, wants to place U.S. development assistance on a similar evidence-based path,” according to a recent Daily Beast piece that labeled Duflo “poverty’s rock star.”

But the evidence cited in some of Duflo’s work favors conventional left-wing solutions, and her writing outright favors left-wing world leaders.

Duflo wrote about the negative consequences of “fast growth” as it relates to economic inequality in a 2011 paper. The paper sought to develop “a long term strategy to balance growth with equity” in “policies that maximizes the chance that the poor are able to fully participate in markets, so that when growth starts, they can benefit from it.”

Duflo wrote that “inequality can lead to less political stability,” that the “distribution of wealth” is not “irrelevant for investment,” and that “greater inequality can lead to less investment and less growth.” She also wrote that “Violence levels are have sharply increased in countries with very high level of inequality.”

“The experience of Brazil may be an illustration of the large negative effects of fast growth on inequality. In the 1960s and 1970s, fast growth accompanied with large increases in inequality fueled populist demands that eventually gave rise to hyper-inflation and stopped economic growth. When President Lula assumed office, and could credibly commit to help the poor with more long-term policies, the macro-economic situation stabilized, which created conditions for more permanent growth,” Duflo wrote.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, also known as “Lula,” is the founder of Brazil’s left-wing Worker’s Party. During his presidency, Lula implemented the largest social welfare program in the world.

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