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Policy Insights

What have we learned from randomized evaluations that policymakers, practitioners, and funders can use to improve social programs? J-PAL’s Policy Insights, organized by sector, highlight lessons emerging across multiple studies and the mechanisms that help explain the results.

J-PAL’s Sector Chairs and staff draw these insights from relevant randomized evaluations, updating and adding insights as the body of evidence grows. Each Policy Insight briefly summarizes their perspective on the evidence on a specific topic, with links to the original research and policy summaries. Read this blog post for more information about how we develop Policy Insights.

When combined with a detailed understanding of context and program implementation, we hope these insights can be practical inputs for policy and program design. For examples of how insights from randomized evaluations have informed policy, visit our Evidence to Policy page.

Reducing costs to increase school participation

Última actualización: 
February 2019
Programs that reduce the costs of education increase student enrollment and attendance. However, there is considerable variation in the cost effectiveness of different programs. Read More
Une petite fille dans une école primaire en Inde.

Increasing student enrollment and attendance: impacts by gender

Última actualización: 
February 2019
Reducing the costs and increasing the perceived benefits of education increase student participation for both boys and girls, and successful programs tend to help the gender with the lowest initial attendance most. Read More

Changing resumes to reduce hiring discrimination

Última actualización: 
February 2019
Randomized evaluations show strong evidence of hiring discrimination against minority and underrepresented groups in many countries, with most evidence so far coming from developed countries. Where it has been tested using randomization, removing identifying information on job applications had perverse effects on minority applicants if firms were already more likely to hire them or if firms discriminated on other characteristics after some information was removed, but more research is needed. Read More

Reducing adolescent pregnancy by increasing educational and economic opportunities in low- and middle-income countries

Última actualización: 
January 2019
Interventions that changed perceptions about girls’ abilities and opportunities or increased the educational and economic opportunities available to them encouraged girls and young women to delay pregnancy. Read More
A Teaching at the Right Level reading activity in Zambia. Photo: Anton Scholtz | J-PAL

Tailoring instruction to students’ learning levels to increase learning

Última actualización: 
January 2019
In classrooms around the world, many students are not learning at grade level and struggle to catch up. Dedicating a portion of instruction time to tailoring instruction to the learning levels of students is one of the most effective and cost-effective ways of improving learning. Tailored instruction can be delivered effectively through multiple channels: during or after school and by tutors, volunteers, government teachers, or through education technology. Read More
Nurse talking to a patient

The impact of price on take-up and use of preventive health products

Última actualización: 
May 2018
Charging fees for many key preventive health products dramatically reduces take-up. Preventive health products distributed for free are generally put to good use. Read More

Improving extension services to increase smallholder productivity

Última actualización: 
April 2018
Agricultural information and extension services in developing countries can be improved by adapting the pedagogical model, using information and communications technology (ICT) to reach farmers directly with more tailored and timely information, incentivizing trainers based on learning outcomes, and leveraging social networks for last-mile information delivery. Read More