November 27, 2012 – Martin Ravallion, director of the World Bank’s research department, will join Georgetown as its inaugural Edmond D. Villani Chaired Professor of Economics in the spring semester.
“The faculty [members] of the economics department are excited to welcome him as a colleague, but I anticipate that Martin's presence will be felt throughout the entire Georgetown University community,” says Francis Vella, professor and chair of economics. “This will not only be through his undergraduate and graduate teaching but also through interaction with other units across the university.”
Ravallion is well known for his scholarship on development economics. His wide-ranging research includes his early work on famines as well as his research on the causes of poverty and the evaluation of anti-poverty policies. He is probably best known for his work on measuring global poverty, including developing the international “$1-a-day" poverty measure.
In the late 1980s, World Bank economists observed that some developing countries drew their poverty lines at about $370 of income per year.
That led Ravillion to the often-used measurement, which divides $370 by 365 days.
“As an economist who has devoted almost all his professional life to using knowledge to help fight poverty in the world, moving to Georgetown University at this time makes a lot of sense,” Ravallion says.
He has held academic positions at the London School of Economics, the University of Oxford and the Australian National University before joining the World Bank in 1988. Since then he also has held several visiting positions at institutions such as Princeton University and the Université de Toulouse in France.
The economist has published extensively and received a number of academic honors, including the 2011 John Kenneth Galbraith Award “for outstanding contributions to humanity through leadership, research and service” at the annual conference of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
Ravallion’s chair is named after Georgetown alumnus and business executive Edmond D. Villani (C’68).
“The Villanis’ extraordinary generosity, along with Ed Villani’s active involvement with the department, has been one of the major reasons for our substantial progress in the last eight years,” says Vella, the recipient of the Edmond V. Villani Chair in Economics, named after Ed Villani's father. “This involvement has resulted in important appointments … such as professors Guido Kuersteiner and John Rust, and now, Martin.”
Kuersteiner, a leading econometrician, joined the Georgetown faculty in 2010. Rust, a pioneer in structural econometrics, became a Georgetown professor this fall.