Matthew Notowidigdo appointed as co-scientific director of J-PAL North America

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab has appointed University of Chicago Professor Matthew Notowidigdo as co-scientific director of its North America office.

He takes over the leadership role from economist Larry Katz, who has stepped down after leading the office for 10 years.

Notowidigdo’s work spans labor market issues, social protection policies and health interventions. Highlights of evaluations he has conducted in partnership with J-PAL North America include a study on increasing SNAP benefits take-up in Pennsylvania and an ongoing study on managed care organizations with the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

In the new co-scientific director role, he will guide J-PAL North America in developing rigorous research on economic mobility and advise the organization as it builds a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion and develops a research agenda for racial equity.

Notowidigdo will work alongside fellow J-PAL co-scientific director Amy Finkelstein.

Commenting on the appointment, J-PAL North America Co-Executive Director Vincent Quan said: “Matt holds a deep commitment to our mission, a history of public service at J-PAL, excitement about randomized evaluations, and many ideas around how to strengthen our diversity, equity, and inclusion work.”

He added: “His thought leadership in these areas will be extremely valuable to the growth of our organization.” 

J-PAL is a global research center that works to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence.

Anchored by a network of 294 affiliated professors at universities around the world, the organization conducts randomized impact evaluations to answer critical questions about poverty.