News, ideas, and analysis from J-PAL staff and affiliated professors. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive monthly email updates.

Research Methods

Affiliate spotlight: Christopher Neilson on using technology to close information gaps

Monday, March 5, 2018, by Charlotte Goff and Christopher Neilson

Christopher Neilson is an assistant professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University. He has been a J-PAL affiliate since 2017.

How did you become interested in development economics?

I moved around a lot when I was growing up; I spent time in Chile, Brazil, and the United States. These experiences exposed me to contrasts in development—both across countries, and as well as within countries—and these disparities left a mark. The consequences of ineffective economic policy were very visible. For example, when I was 9 or 10, I remember negotiating my allowance to be in US dollars when my family briefly lived in Brazil during a period of hyperinflation. Read More

How can we leverage partnerships to tackle development challenges? Insights from Community Jameel

Thursday, March 1, 2018, by Fady Mohammed Jameel

Community Jameel was formally established in 2003 to continue the Jameel family's tradition of supporting the community. Its long-standing relationship with MIT is grounded in a shared belief in the value of bringing the brightest minds to bear on persistent problems facing communities around the world.

Our partnerships with MIT are working to address some of the major challenges of the twenty-first century:

Teaching at the Right Level: Inside the classroom

Tuesday, February 27, 2018, by Ashleigh Morrell and Kim Tichmann

The application of the Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) approach in Zambia, through the Ministry of General Education’s Catch Up program, provides an opportunity to capture key aspects of TaRL in an African context.

TaRL pioneer Pratham, together with J-PAL Africa, worked closely with the Ministry of General Education to produce a set of videos that transport the viewer into a... Read More

Addressing the challenges of publication bias with RCT registration

Thursday, February 15, 2018, by James Turitto and Keesler Welch

In social science, as in other disciplines, a pattern of publication bias has emerged: Studies that show positive results are often more likely to get published. This is a problem because policymakers use results from randomized impact evaluations, also known as randomized controlled trials (RCTs), to inform their decisions. 

It's therefore possible that a published study found a social policy or program to be effective, but several other unpublished... Read More

Engaging parents through technology improves academic outcomes

Wednesday, February 14, 2018, by Peter Bergman

This post first appeared on the Jacobs Foundation Blog on Learning and Development (BOLD).

Back in 2012, I was sitting in the main office of a high school near downtown Los Angeles when a mother came in to speak with the guidance counselor. She was concerned; she had not heard from the school in a week about how her son was doing in his classes.

Sure, every evening... Read More

Manishah Shah

Affiliate spotlight: Manisha Shah on her research on adolescent sexual and reproductive health

Friday, February 2, 2018, by Charlotte Goff and Manisha Shah

J-PAL affiliated professor Manisha Shah is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Her primary research questions and teaching interests lie at the intersection of applied microeconomics, health, and education.

How did you become interested in development economics?

My childhood experiences in developing countries probably had a lot to do with it. I still remember my first trip to India... Read More

Using evidence to improve open government initiatives

Thursday, January 25, 2018, by Aulia Anggita Larasati

One way that open government initiatives can improve service delivery is through increasing transparency—for instance, by providing information about social programs and citizens’ eligibility and rights under such programs. Read More