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Mission + Partners


Founded in 2006, the Development Research Institute (DRI) is devoted to rigorous, scholarly research on the economic development and growth of poor countries. DRI is an independent and non-partisan organization  led by NYU Professors William Easterly and Yaw Nyarko, and is home to a growing team of researchers and students.

In 2010, DRI’s accomplishments were recognized by a major international prize, the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award.  In the category of development cooperation, DRI was recognized for our “contribution to the analysis of foreign aid provision, and…challenge to the conventional wisdom in development assistance.”  The BBVA awards seek to recognize and encourage world-class research and artistic creation, prizing contributions of broad impact for their originality and theoretical significance.

“At a time when richer countries are being called on to increase aid expenditure, DRI has made it its mission to ensure that these resources are not wasted and that policy advice is effective,” concluded the jury in its resolution, which also singled out DRI’s determination to hold development assistance organizations and national aid agencies accountable to scientific scrutiny.


Our Mission

Through our work, we seek to expand the number and diversity of serious commentators on the state of foreign aid and development. Our ultimate goal is to have a positive impact on the lives of the poor, who deserve the benefit of high-quality, clear-eyed, hard-headed economic research applied to the problems of world poverty.




DRI is affiliated with Africa House, an interdisciplinary institute devoted to the study of  economic, political, and social issues on the African continent, as well as contemporary African art. Africa House  promotes an informed and balanced understanding of contemporary Africa – encompassing its full social, economic and cultural diversity – at NYU and in the wider New York community, by convening and connecting African leaders, scholars, students and the African Diaspora, and by supporting scholarship on contemporary African art and economic development. For upcoming events visit their events page or subscribe to the Africa House mailing list.



DRI also works with the Center for Technology and Economic Development (CTED), located at NYU in Abu Dhabi. CTED combines economic principles, technological advances, and human-centric design to create innovative solutions for the problems experienced in emerging regions. Many CTED projects revolve around research and innovating new applications for the mobile phone, which has penetrated many rural poor areas of the developing world at surprising rates. Other projects use new technologies to provide the rural poor with access to electricity without relying on expensive national grids, particularly through decentralized solar energy, as well as researching the possibility of using micro-finance type tools to finance it. CTED aims to produce high quality research as well as develop research ideas beyond pilot efforts to improve the lives of the poor.


DRI gratefully acknowledges generous support from New York University and:

If you love our work, you may support the efforts of DRI by donating through the NYU website.