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

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It's therefore possible that a published study found a social policy or program to be effective, but several other unpublished...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

People meeting

What have we learned about building a culture of data and evidence use in government?

Monday, February 5, 2018, by Samantha Carter, Julu Beth Katticaran, Claudia Macías, and Claire Walsh

Earlier this month, we wrote about how partnerships funded by J-PAL’s Government Partnership Initiative (GPI) have helped increase governments’ use of data and evidence in policymaking in places like Chile, India, Peru, and Zambia.

One common theme across all of GPI’s partnerships is that they are led by a champion in government who is making evidence-informed policy a priority. We could not contribute data and evidence to policy decisions without their leadership and dedication. 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

Mary Ann Bates, executive director of J-PAL North America, speaks at a recent TEDx event.

It improved lives elsewhere. Will it here?

Tuesday, January 23, 2018, by Mary Ann Bates

TED is about ideas worth spreading. But which ideas are worth spreading? Ideas from where? When we try to solve some of the biggest challenges our societies face, our first instinct is to look at what worked elsewhere. But can we really teach math like they do in Singapore? Or design a health program like they have in Sweden? Read More

Using a massive open online course (MOOC) to build a culture of evidence in Brazil

Thursday, January 18, 2018, by Anna Mortara

One of our fundamental goals at J-PAL Latin America & Caribbean (LAC) is building government capacity to generate and use scientific evidence in order to achieve more effective public policies. But are policymakers and civil servants in Latin America interested in learning more about these topics? Last year we saw evidence that in Brazil, the answer is yes.

In partnership with ENAP (the National School of... Read More