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

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Who benefits most from school access policies? A gender breakdown of results from randomized evaluations

Thursday, August 10, 2017, by Rachel Glennerster

The majority of out of school children are girls, and much of the rhetoric about improving access to education focuses on girls. Yet many of the policies designed to improve primary school access (particularly those evaluated with randomized evaluations) do not specifically target girls. In J-PAL’s recent review of education RCTs, Roll Call, we therefore ask: Which gender benefits most from these school access policies?

We were surprised to... Read More

Young man fixes a bicycle

More jobs, less crime

Tuesday, August 8, 2017, by Hannah Myers

Thousands of young people facing barriers to opportunity across the United States are working at camps, daycare centers, and corporate and government offices this summer through summer employment programs. A growing body of evidence, including a number of evaluations by several J-PAL affiliates, shows that these programs can lower violent crime rates among youth. This research has supported a program’s expansion in Chicago and spurred additional evaluations of new questions... Read More

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Zambia to scale Teaching at the Right Level program to 1,800 schools

Tuesday, August 8, 2017, by Emily Cupito and Ben Simuyandi

Building on over a decade of rigorous research around the world and two years of iterative learning in Zambia, the Ministry of General Education will scale up a program called Catch Up to approximately 1,800 schools in Zambia over the next three years. Based on the Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) approach pioneered by the Indian NGO Pratham, Catch Up aims to improve basic literacy and numeracy skills of primary... Read More

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MicroMasters students in Data, Economics, and Development Policy complete first semester

Monday, July 10, 2017, by Anna Schrimpf and Lindsay Shanahan

The online MITx MicroMasters program in Data, Economics, and Development Policy (DEDP), a collaborative effort between J-PAL and MIT’s Department of Economics, equips learners with the practical skills and theoretical knowledge to tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing developing countries and the world’s poor. Through a series of five online courses and in-person exams, learners gain a strong foundation in microeconomics, development economics, probability and statistics, and engage... Read More

Woman plays educational games with children

New findings on children’s math learning in India demonstrate the importance of field research for cognitive science

Friday, July 7, 2017, by Esther Duflo

Cognitive Science is a relatively new field that has made dramatic advances over the last decades: advances that shed light on our conscious and unconscious minds, bring insights into fields from neuroscience to economics, and now play no small role in the development of machines that are smart enough to take over tasks that until now, only humans could perform. 

But cognitive science has underperformed conspicuously in one domain: Its... Read More

Group of J-PAL staff and Punjab government officials pose for MoU signing

J-PAL South Asia launches partnership with Government of Punjab, India

Friday, June 2, 2017, by Sharanya Chandran

In April 2017, the State Government of Punjab, India represented by its Chief Secretary, Mr. Karan Avtar Singh, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with J-PAL South Asia at IFMR, represented by its Executive Director, Ms Shobhini Mukerji. The partnership aims to support the Punjab Government in taking an evidence-informed approach to its poverty alleviation efforts.

The MoU signing meeting was chaired by Punjab’s Finance Minister, Mr. Manpreet Singh Badal... Read More

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