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A woman wearing a medical face mask counts rupee notes after collecting cash of financial assistance through a mobile wallet under the governmental Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme for families in need during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Islamabad on April 9, 2020.

Hard data for hard choices

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Before COVID-19 arrived, social scientists had already established that cash transfers and mobile money are two of the most effective tools for assisting the poor and vulnerable in difficult conditions. Now is the time for governments to act on those findings, and to build up additional data for the...
A hand fills out a PPP loan application form.

Too complicated, too confusing: why more small businesses aren’t applying for coronavirus relief loans, and what we can do to reach them

Economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19 will depend on the survival of businesses, yet many at-risk small businesses struggle to reach the SBA’s financial lifeboat. How might policymakers encourage emergency relief loan applications from the most vulnerable small businesses?
The image pictures a women's hand with the palm facing out.

Evidence-based approaches to tackling recent increases in gender-based violence

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Many countries have witnessed a surge in cases of domestic violence due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent stay-at-home orders. This phenomenon is especially concerning in Africa, the eastern Mediterranean, and Southeast Asia, where rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) are...
A man shows a tablet to a small child who is doing homework.

Using evidence to effectively support education during COVID-19

In light of school closures caused by COVID-19, millions of students are home for the remainder of the academic year. Philanthropy will play a vital role in the response to this crisis. But how can education funders and donors ensure that they are allocating their resources effectively?
A dad works on his laptop on the couch while children climb all over him.

Working remotely or remotely working? Best practices in working from home post COVID-19

Research from randomized evaluations can shed light on some of the benefits of working from home for employees and their employers—and best practices for those of us looking to maximize our productivity while preserving some work-life balance.
Indiana state house building

State and local policy responses to COVID-19: Lessons from evidence

J-PAL North America has curated a set of randomized evaluations that tested specific policy options related to the social safety net, health, and education. Our goal is to provide actionable evidence to inform state and local leaders’ policy responses to challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A man stands behind a counter that displays phone cards in a small shop. A woman sits in front of the counter typing on a laptop.

How digital financial services and e-commerce can help curb the impact of COVID-19 on people's livelihoods

For those in Indonesia with access to mobile phones and digital literacy, e-commerce and digital financial services may help people to maintain their livelihoods. Not only do digital financial services offer a fast and contactless means of payment and transfer, but evidence from around the world has...
A poster in Indonesia with health recommendations

Cushioning the poor from the COVID-19 shock

In an op-ed for Project Syndicate, Rema Hanna and Ben Olken explain that expanding social protection to reach the most vulnerable people must be a pillar of every country’s COVID-19 strategy.