The United States is facing a range of challenging policy issues, from trade to inequality to climate change. The good news is that academic economists are doing cutting-edge work to help solve the challenges of the day, at the University of Chicago and institutions around the world. Over the past 20 years, there has been increasing momentum toward evidence-informed policymaking. While this seems promising, barriers still exist to bridging the divide between academia and government.
On Nov. 19, the Becker Friedman Institute (BFI) welcomed MIT Professor of Economics Abhijit Banerjee, recipient of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics and co-author of the forthcoming book, Good Economics for Hard Times. In their book, Banerjee and co-author Esther Duflo (also a recipient of the 2019 Nobel Prize) highlight the potential for economics to help solve the greatest social and economic problems of our time. A panel of experts, including UChicago’s Katherine Baicker, Michael Greenstone and Steve Levitt, along with the Obama Foundation’s Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo, shared their experiences and perspectives on the potential for economics to improve policy outcomes, the obstacles that exist to evidence-informed policymaking, and opportunities for improvement.