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

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

Irwan Setyawan, J-PAL ‘17, on making the jump from research to government in Indonesia

Thursday, October 3, 2019, by Siena Harlin, Serene Ho, and Irwan Setyawan

In this installment of our Alumni Spotlight series we speak with Irwan Setyawan, a former senior research associate at J-PAL Southeast Asia. Irwan joined J-PAL SEA’s research team in 2016 after completing his master’s in banking and finance. After two years at J-PAL working on research projects related to financial inclusion in Indonesia, Irwan transitioned to a program management role within Indonesia’s National Council for Financial Inclusion. Irwan joined us to share some of his lessons learned from working in the field and then becoming a member of an influential government agency. Read More

Photo: A health worker conducts a blood test on a client in Nkokonjeru, Uganda. Adam Jan Figel |

Why uncertainty in global health interventions matters—and what we can do about it

Friday, September 20, 2019, by Kalipso Chalkidou, Anupama Dathan, and Francis Ruiz

Global health interventions, like many public policies, are rife with uncertainty. Will a program, such as a malaria prevention strategy that looks strong on paper, work as intended? Will a new technology, such as a specific drug or device that appears effective in clinical trial settings, work in practice and provide good value-for-money? 

In the case of programs made up of a complex interaction of multiple interventions, implementers often create... Read More

A new hub for data in randomized evaluations

Wednesday, September 11, 2019, by Hasina Badani, Pam Kingpetcharat, Karl Rubio, and James Turitto

Today, J-PAL and IPA are excited to announce the creation of the new Datahub for Field Experiments in Economics and Public Policy. With this new dataverse, we will be housing all datasets published on The Dataverse Project by our respective organizations in one centralized location. 

Our organizations have made impressive strides in recent years in publishing data: we have made available more than 140 datasets from studies... Read More