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Research Methods

Woman holds baby

A practical framework for evidence-informed policy: Addressing the generalizability puzzle

Wednesday, May 24, 2017, by Rachel Glennerster

In recent decades, there has been a huge increase in the number of impact evaluations of different approaches to reducing poverty. Despite this, if you are a policymaker, it is unlikely that there will be a rigorous impact evaluation that answers precisely the question you are facing in precisely the location in which you are facing it. So how do you draw on the available evidence, both from your local... Read More

Interior of a prison

Stopping the Revolving Door: What we know—and still need to learn—about reducing recidivism in the United States

Friday, May 5, 2017, by Ben Struhl

More than three of every four individuals released from US prisons are re-arrested within five years. Given the sharp negative effects that incarceration has on individuals and their communities, as well as the often staggering expense of jails and prisons to governments and taxpayers, addressing this “revolving door” has become a top priority for many policymakers.

Reentry interventions—programs designed to help people readjust to society following their release from... Read More

Learning from charter school lotteries: new J-PAL policy publication

Monday, May 1, 2017, by Julia Chabrier

In the United States, about 2.5 million students attend one of the approximately 6,500 publicly funded charter schools. However, until recently there has been little rigorous evidence on the effectiveness of these alternatives to traditional public schools. A new policy bulletin produced by J-PAL North America reviews results from 17 evaluations in the United States that used admissions lotteries to study the impact of charter schools on student test scores and... Read More

Building the evidence base on smallholders’ barriers to technology adoption

Monday, May 1, 2017, by J-PAL

How can we increase profits and improve livelihoods for 500 million smallholder farming households around the world—the most common occupation for people living under US$2 a day? The seven newest grantees of the Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI) will evaluate strategies to increase the adoption and impact of potentially profitable technologies for smallholders. In its eighth competitive request for proposals, ATAI funded four randomized evaluations and three pilot projects.

Smallholders increasingly... Read More

A nurse hands a bednet to a pregnant woman

World Malaria Day: End malaria by preventing it

Tuesday, April 25, 2017, by Thomas Chupein and Ariella Park

This year’s theme for World Malaria Day is “End Malaria for Good”—a theme that reflects the tremendous progress that has been made since 2000 in reducing the incidence of the disease, as well as a recognition that challenges remain. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), between 2010 and 2015 alone, the rate of new malaria cases fell by 21% and malaria mortality rates fell by 29%. Yet in 2015,... Read More

Marking off boxes on a checklist

What does it take to launch and implement a randomized evaluation?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017, by Rohit Naimpally

Randomized evaluations can be challenging to launch and implement in practice. Before designing a randomized evaluation, it is important to understand the administrative steps needed to get a project off the ground. In the US, there is a complex web of rules and regulations for research. Decisions made in the early stages of an evaluation may have lasting implications on issues like data access and use, and the ability to... Read More

Reaping greater impacts in agricultural extension

Tuesday, April 11, 2017, by J-PAL

Technologies like improved seeds and fertilizer have the potential to help farmers significantly increase their yields and therefore increase their profits. In some cases, adoption of agricultural technology has been an important factor in countries' transitions out of poverty.

A farmer’s decision to adopt a new technology, however, requires several types of information. The farmer must know that the technology exists, they must believe that the technology is beneficial, and... Read More