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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

No silver bullet to cure poverty (2)

(Shanghai Daily)

13:03, December 05, 2011

Similarly, there could be positive social and political impact of health care for the poor, which includes steps like better access to preventive health and finding ways to put iron, vitamins, etc, in the food that poor people consume.

Q: In India, poverty has always been a top-of-mind issue. Would you agree that poverty in India is a lucrative opportunity area?

Duflo: At a basic level, there are lots of poor people, and so they are a market. There are some forms of social businesses that have done well in this regard.

A lot of people say that you can make money while helping the poor. However, you have to be a little more careful. I am not saying that these opportunities don't exist. But there are also lots of things that the poor need and the market is not able to provide them. It is a big mistake to think that markets will be able to do everything.

Q: Is the problem of global poverty too huge to envision and address?

Duflo: The right thing is to say that it is not one giant problem, but a series of issues that need to be addressed in numerous ways. This way, there will be incremental victories and progress towards ending poverty.

Q: What has your Poverty Action Lab (the Abdul Latif Jamil Poverty Action Lab or J-PAL) accomplished so far?

Banerjee: In 2003, we founded the Poverty Action Lab to encourage and support research on a new way of doing economics, based on what we call randomized control trials.

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