Lant Pritchett is LaMP’s co-founder and research director. Lant is a world-renowned development economist who has spent the last 30 years applying economic principles to complex problems of systems change. Lant worked with the World Bank from 1988 to 2007, living in Indonesia 1998-2000 and India 2004-2007. He taught at the Harvard Kennedy School from 2000 to 2018, where he was the Faculty Chair of the MPA/ID Degree program. He has published over a hundred books, journal articles, working papers and has over 38,000 citations on development topics from education to economic growth to labor mobility. 

Lant has a track record of translating visionary ideas in practical realities at national and global scale. Lant’s early work in 2006 calling attention to a growing learning crisis in the developing world and the need for an emphasis on achieving early foundational learning. His suggested replacement for learning targets was reflected almost exactly in the 2015 Social Development Goals and more recently in the World Bank’s goal to eliminate learning poverty. Lant’s work, together with David Dollar, assessing the impact of foreign assistance on achieving development goals called for “selectivity, not conditionality” as a way to channel foreign assistance led both to substantial changes in World Bank practices and the founding of a brand-new development agency, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, explicitly adopting the principle. 

He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1983 with a B.S. in Economics and in 1988 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a PhD in Economics.