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

New year, new partnerships to scale life-changing programs

Wednesday, December 18, 2019, by Mary Ann Bates

In recent years, the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) redesigned the reminder notification letters that now reach more than 360,000 individuals eligible for the earned income tax credit (EITC), giving them millions of dollars in earned benefits. This change was in response to a randomized evaluation which found that follow-up mailings to people who failed to claim the EITC ($26 million in forgone benefits) increased responses by... Read More

Translating research into action in 2019: J-PAL North America’s year in review

Friday, December 13, 2019, by Yijin Yang

As 2019 comes to a close, we reflect back on key accomplishments, lessons learned, and the partnerships that have made it possible to advance J-PAL North America’s mission of reducing poverty in the region. From compelling new evidence and reviews of over 160 rigorous evaluations, to the Evaluation Toolkit and building the capacity of policymakers, all the accomplishments we have spotlighted have been made possible through our partnership... Read More

The 2019 Nobel Prize-winning scientific movement that can transform US policymaking

Tuesday, December 10, 2019, by Mary Ann Bates, Amy Finkelstein, and Lawrence Katz

This year’s Nobel Prize in economics recognizes a revolutionary approach to reducing global poverty. The same ideas can transform policymaking in the U.S. as well. Read More

Welcoming twelve new affiliates

Tuesday, December 10, 2019, by Siena Harlin

We are excited to welcome twelve new affiliates to J-PAL: Lauren Falcao Bergquist (University of Michigan), Stefano Caria (University of Bristol), Jishnu Das (Georgetown University), Susan Godlonton (Williams College), Rachel Heath (University of Washington), Simon Jäger (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Jason Kerwin (University of Minnesota), Adnan Khan (London School of Economics), Amit Khandelwal (Columbia University), Adrienne Lucas (University of... Read More

From technology adoption to adaptation: supporting smallholder resilience to climate change

Monday, December 2, 2019, by Sarah Baum and Rebecca Toole

In September 2019, the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA), led by Bill Gates, Kristalina Georgieva, and Ban Ki-moon, urged global leaders to advance climate adaptation solutions for smallholder farmers.

Without adaptation—defined broadly as “preparing for and responding to the disruptive effects of climate change,” it is predicted that 500 million small farms around the world will experience severe impacts on agricultural yields, affecting their income, food security, and well-being.

A... Read More

Measuring the impact of information on mayors' policy decisions: Evidence from Brazil

Monday, November 25, 2019, by Jonas Hjort, Diana Moreira, Gautam Rao, and Juan Francisco Santini

In recent decades, we’ve seen enormous growth in the number of program evaluations to measure the impacts of various government policies, NGO programs, and other implementers’ work.

Our own experience, along with the work of evidence-to-policy organizations like J-PAL, EPoD, and IPA, suggests that there is demand for evidence among policymakers (see J-PAL’s case studies for some examples). However, we have little empirical evidence on... Read More

Partner Spotlight: Pauline Abernathy from Benefits Data Trust on the value of research partnerships and understanding your impact

Friday, November 22, 2019, by Pauline Abernathy, Erin Graeber, and Yijin Yang

In 2014, Benefits Data Trust (BDT) partnered with J-PAL North America staff and affiliated researchers Amy Finkelstein (MIT) and Matt Notowidigdo (Northwestern) to design and implement a randomized evaluation of their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) outreach and assistance program.

We spoke with Pauline Abernathy, BDT’s Chief Strategy Officer, to learn more about the nonprofit’s experience conducting a randomized evaluation in partnership with J-PAL North America, including why they decided... Read More