31 August 2012

Sachs, Easterly, Duflo, Collier and Rodrik, Oh My!

In 1934, Carl Hubbel of the New York Giants took the mound as the starting pitcher for the National League. He walked the first two batters of the game and faced arguably the best hitter in the history of baseball, Babe Ruth. Things only looked worse with fellow future Hall-of-Famers Lou Gehrig on-deck and Jimmie Foxx in the hole. Hubbel proceeded to do the unthinkable. He struck out all three and started off the next inning by striking out to more players headed for the Hall, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin.

If there was an equivalent of all star game for aid and development academics, surefire starters would include Paul Collier, Bill Easterly, Jeff Sachs, Dani Rodrik and Esther Duflo. Naturally,there would be some variance based on what people prefer in the vote. Some might take Moyo, others are big fans of Karlan and you can't forget the rabid Blattman fans who would stuff the ballot boxes.

The bad news for development nerds is that there is no all star game for development academics. The good news is that the Institute for International Economic Studies has put together a panel that features a formidable lineup not seen since 1934 (a pinch of hyperbole).

Wednesday, IIES is celebrating its 50th anniversary with an all star panel to discuss the question, "how can policy and aid help in bringing down world poverty." Timothy Besley of LSE has the challenge of moderating the panel of Collier, Duflo, Eaterly, Rodrik and Sachs. It might not go the same way as the 1934 MLB all star game, but a panel with this group may only happen once.