Iqbal Singh Dhaliwal is the Global Executive Director of J-PAL. He works with the Board of Directors to develop the organization’s strategic vision, and with the leadership of the seven regional offices to coordinate J-PAL’s worldwide research, policy outreach, capacity building, and operations. He is also the Co-Scientific Director with Esther Duflo of J-PAL’s South Asia regional office, Co-Chair with Abhijit Banerjee of the Innovation in Government Initiative (IGI), and Co-Chair with Shawn Cole and Lars Vilhuber of the Innovations in Data and Experiments for Action Initiative (IDEA). He is a board member of J-PAL and NGOs Noora Health and Rocket Learning. He is a member of a working group of Mission Karmayogi constituted by Government of India to strengthen the capacity of government officials at all levels. Earlier he was a member of ‘Group of Experts’ convened by the Chief Minister of Punjab, India to develop the post-Covid economic strategy for the state.
Based at the economics department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Iqbal has held a number of positions at J-PAL, including Deputy Executive Director (2013–2017), founding Director of the Policy and Communications group (2009–2017), interim Director of the Research, Education, and Training vertical (2016–2017), and Co-Chair of the Governance Initiative (2010–2014). He is the co-author with Rema Hanna (Harvard) of a very large, five-district randomized evaluation on improving health outcomes and service provider attendance in rural India.
Before joining J-PAL in 2009, Iqbal was a director in the economic analysis practice of a consulting firm in Boston where he managed numerous engagements involving antitrust issues, regulation, and strategy; and before that an analyst in a strategy consulting firm outside of Washington D.C. He began his career in public service as a member of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), in which he served as a Deputy Secretary in a state government, director of a statewide welfare department, and CEO of a publicly owned company. As the sub-collector of one of the state’s largest administrative divisions, he led a large bureaucracy that implemented numerous development programs in the field.
Iqbal stood first in the nationwide Civil Services examination and also received the Director’s Gold Medal at India’s National Academy of Administration. In 2019, the Government of Punjab, India awarded him the Guru Nanak Devji Achievers Award for his “contributions to the field of economics and poverty alleviation.” He received the Dean’s Fellowship at Princeton University and the gold medal for standing first in the college in his undergraduate program. He has a BA in economics from the University of Delhi, an MA in economics from the Delhi School of Economics, and an MPA in international development from Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.