Esther Duflo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics has an interesting paper on A Research Agenda for Development Economics.
ABSTRACT: Development economics has grown tremendously in the last fifteen years. It can continue to grow and improve in the next decades by focusing on three areas. First, revitalizing the tradition of applied theory which transformed development economics in the 1980s and 1990s, by giving us a better understanding of how poverty shapes individual options. A new wave of applied theoretical work is needed, to incorporate recent empirical findings that have revealed the limits of the earlier theoretical framework. Second, continue expanding and improving empirical work, in particular experimental work. More ambitious, potentially more expensive experiments, should be conducted. Third, expanding theoretical and empirical work on the aggregate consequences of micro-level distortions, themselves identified by the new theoretical and the empirical work to be done under the first and second areas of focus.