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

How this year’s Nobel Prize winners helped shape an education revolution in Africa

Thursday, October 31, 2019, by Ashleigh Morrell

This post first appeared on the Teaching at the Right Level blog

It’s late 2016, and I’m standing at the back of a classroom in rural Eastern Province, Zambia, together with my colleague Emily Cupito and Ministry of General Education Principal Education Standards Officer, Mahuba Hazemba. A teacher stands at the front of the class describing a new maths concept, occasionally asking a question to the class. A few... Read More

Building an Initiative: J-PAL North America Brings Rigorous Research to the Work of the Future Conversation

Friday, October 25, 2019, by Desmond Amuh

Automation, artificial intelligence, and other new technologies have the potential to make work more efficient and expand the possibilities of what we can do and create. These same technologies, however, have serious implications for the future of our economy and labor market: some jobs will become obsolete, while others will be created. With the rise in income inequality and stagnating educational attainment, these shifts are likely to disproportionately harm lower-wage workers. From newspaper headlines to the presidential debate stage, public discourse on the work of the future has surged in recent years with many voicing great concern. Read More

Working alongside the Nobel laureates

Friday, October 18, 2019, by Shobhini Mukerji

As a young research associate, I stopped at a roadside dhaba with my boss, me armed with hand-sanitizer and a spoon, while my boss dug in to a plate of fish with her hands, devoured it down to the bones, washed her hands at the public sink, and proceeded to the car. My boss was Esther Duflo, the director and co-founder of J-PAL, and we were on a field visit... Read More

Learner spotlight: Combining online courses with classroom learning

Wednesday, October 9, 2019, by Fredric Kong

Fredric is a current high school student and, at seventeen, the youngest student in the incoming class to MIT’s blended Master’s in Data, Economics, and Development Policy (DEDP). As the program has no degree prerequisites other than the completion of the MicroMasters credential in DEDP, Fredric will follow an inverted educational path by pursuing a Master’s degree before pursuing undergraduate education. Read More

Affiliate Spotlight: Lisa Cameron

Monday, October 7, 2019, by Siena Harlin

To read the full profile, please download the PDF version here.

J-PAL affiliate Lisa Cameron is driven by an innate curiosity about how people experience everyday life. Lisa is drawn to economics research not only because it provides a window into understanding human behavior, but also because it has the potential to inform programs that can improve people’s well-being.

Lisa has dedicated much of her career as an... Read More

Welcoming three new affiliates to J-PAL

Friday, October 4, 2019, by Siena Harlin

This summer, J-PAL welcomed three new professors to our academic network: Jie Bai at Harvard UniversityJoshua Blumenstock at the University of California, Berkeley, and Saumitra Jha at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Their varied research interests focus on the relationship between firm growth and corruption, addressing violence and political polarization, and the intersection of machine learning and development economics. 

... Read More

Surya Banda, J-PAL ‘19, on transitioning from engineering to social policy consulting

Thursday, October 3, 2019, by Surya Banda, Siena Harlin, and Serene Ho

In this installment of our Alumni Spotlight series, we speak with Surya Banda, a former senior policy associate at J-PAL South Asia. Surya joined J-PAL South Asia’s policy team after completing his bachelor's degree in electronics and communications engineering and working at a public policy think tank.

After two years of working to scale up the Targeting the Ultra Poor (TUP) program in India, he transitioned to a management role at Sattva Consulting in the private sector. Surya joined us to share some of his lessons learned from transitioning from an engineering background to work in the field of international development. Read More