BlogNews

News, ideas, and analysis from J-PAL staff and affiliated professors.

Rachel Glennerster on a large stage

When do innovation and evidence change lives?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017, by Rachel Glennerster

Innovate, test, then scale. The sequence seems obvious—but is in fact a radical departure. Too often the policy making process looks more like “have a hunch, find an anecdote, then claim success.”

Over the last decade and more, though, many individuals and organizations have invested in this new model of development. We’ve learned a lot including about how to improve learning, reduce extreme poverty, combat violence, and improve women’s empowerment.... Read More

A woman completes paperwork in front of cash register

Twitter recap: J-PAL and IPA’s financial inclusion Twitter chat

Wednesday, November 8, 2017, by Lucia Diaz-Martin

On October 31, J-PAL’s Finance Sector staff and IPA’s Financial Inclusion Program staff co-hosted a Twitter chat as part of the Center for Financial Inclusion’s Financial Inclusion Week (#FinclusionWeek). We invited people on Twitter to ask us anything about the evidence in financial inclusion, and we received questions on a range of topics.

For those who missed it, we’re recapping the conversation here so you can catch... Read More

Image of MIT's campus

Rethinking access to higher education: New scholarship opportunities for learners from sub-Saharan Africa

Tuesday, November 7, 2017, by Rachel Glennerster and Anna Schrimpf

J-PAL and MIT recently announced the launch of a full master’s degree program in Data, Economics, and Development Policy. This blended program combines online learning and one semester of residential instruction at MIT, and is open to students of all educational backgrounds. To help meet growing demand in sub-Saharan Africa for training and capacity building, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation will sponsor seven students from... Read More

Children at school

Cost-effectiveness for informed decision-making

Monday, October 23, 2017, by Samantha Carter

When a funder or policymaker wants to achieve a certain goal—for instance, increasing citizen security—it is not always obvious which strategy will have the largest impact on the intended beneficiaries.

For good policies and programs to be implemented, funders and policymakers need to know the impacts that their different options have on the outcomes they are targeting. (Throughout this blog, we will refer to policymakers, taking this term to include... Read More

Woman in sari in front of a roadside fruit stand

Building the evidence base to support smallholder farmers

Monday, October 16, 2017, by Kyle Murphy

Increasing migration has placed unprecedented demands on local food systems. Coupled with climate change, which continues to alter rain patterns and agricultural production, these global challenges are expected to exacerbate food insecurity in the coming century. This year’s World Food Day recognizes the importance of addressing food security and rural development in the context of migration and displacement.

Building the resilience and production capacity of smallholder farmers is... Read More

Girls in uniform sit in classroom

International Day of the Girl Child: How do we close the gender gap in school participation?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017, by Lucia Diaz-Martin

International Day of the Girl Child aims to, in the words of the United Nations, "address the needs and challenges girls face worldwide, while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights." As Goal 4 of the SDGs notes, education is one of the most basic human rights—and yet girls in low-income countries are less likely to be enrolled in school than their male peers, and... Read More

Is it time to rethink how we measure women’s household decision-making power in impact evaluations?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017, by Rachel Glennerster and Claire Walsh

One of the first rules of thumb you learn about developing survey questions is that they should be specific and time-bound. In other words, it’s better if a question is about a specific event or behavior rather than a vague idea so respondents are less likely to interpret it in different ways, and it should include a clear timeframe so that their responses are comparable. Read More

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