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

Woman works with a sewing machine in Ghana

Reflecting on J-PAL’s Jobs and Opportunity Initiative’s first year

Quality employment is one of the many ways people can graduate from poverty. Yet, unemployment remains is a problem that has only become more salient through the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the course of 2020, the Jobs and Opportunity Initiativehas funded more than twenty projects that seek to answer...
People in a queue for a vaccination drive.

Strengthening social assistance and health response to COVID-19 in India

The COVID-19 pandemic has expanded the proportion of the population in low- and middle-income countries that require social assistance from governments to deal with economic and health vulnerabilities. Can social assistance schemes be better designed so that they reach those who need support the...
A woman uses her phone

Can digital technology help create a more gender-equal society?

Despite considerable progress in achieving gender parity, inequalities faced by women remain a major global challenge. Can access to the right financial tools support women’s empowerment and result in better outcomes for not only women but also children, household welfare, and the wider community?
A man and woman look at their mobile phones

Leveraging the digital revolution: Can governments utilize big data to help decision making?

Using evidence to make policy decisions can be a challenge when the information one needs is not credible, easily accessible, or interpretable. However, this difficulty can be overcome with the use of a high-frequency monitoring system. As governments and organizations move towards more digitized...
A woman pays mechanic through a mobile phone transfer

Overcoming under-subscription of welfare programs: Digital solutions to low take-up

Welfare programs are in developing countries can have low coverage as a result of low take-up. One barrier to take up may be the perceived lack of IDs. We explore if digital IDs and payments offer a possible solution.
A person manages book of mobile cash transfers

Incentivizing public sector employees: The role of digital technology in enhancing the carrot and the stick

Employee effectiveness is a key driver of productivity and economic development in the public sector. But how does one motivate public sector employees to perform and deliver services? Understanding what drives these employees to work hard, and how different (dis)incentives can energize (or reduce)...
A women wearing a face mask sits outside with two children, also wearing face masks.

Motivating new education research and scale for COVID-19 recovery

J-PAL is launching a one-time Education Research and Scale for COVID-19 Recovery innovation competition to fund randomized evaluations and scale-ups of strategies to improve access, quality, equity, and relevance of pre-primary, primary, and post-primary education in response to the ongoing COVID...
Girls in uniforms sit in a classroom in India

Reflections from seven years of research in J-PAL’s Post-Primary Education Initiative

J-PAL’s Post-Primary Education Initiative has funded more than 140 projects since its inception in 2013. We reflect on what we’ve learned through this research—and where we go from here.