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Applying research insights

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Lessons from randomized evaluations have informed the design of programs.

Well-designed randomized evaluations can provide insights into not only whether or not a program works, but also why. In other words, in addition to learning about the impact of a particular program, researchers can often draw out the mechanisms behind that program’s success to help derive general lessons that can be applied in the same context, as well as more broadly across different contexts and different sectors.

Using a practical generalizability framework, policymakers can use these lessons to inform the design of a broader spectrum of programs and policies. For example, through a series of randomized evaluations in India, Ghana, and Kenya, researchers learned that when children are behind in school, there are a range of cost-effective strategies based on the insight of regrouping students by their current learning level rather than by their age. Governments and organizations in other contexts, such as Zambia, have been able to apply the general idea of “teaching at the right level” to inform the design of their own remedial programs.

Case Studies

Apartment buildings in a city

Promoting housing choice to improve economic mobility

Evidence from a flagship randomized evaluation in the United States prompted legislative and administrative changes to expand housing choice for low-income families. Read More
Woman receives a free insecticide-treated bednet at a health clinic in Kakagena County in Kenya

Free bednets to fight malaria

Research by J-PAL affiliates Pascaline Dupas and Jessica Cohen has shown that charging even small positive prices for health products such as insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) significantly reduces demand. Read More
Fishing boat in Chile

Information and enforcement to reduce overfishing

Evidence from a randomized evaluation and cost-effectiveness analysis led the Chilean government to expand a consumer information campaign to protect at-risk marine species. Read More
TaRL activities taking place in a classroom in Gujarat, India

Teaching at the Right Level to improve learning

Reorienting instruction has improved learning opportunities for over 60 million students in India and Africa. Read More
TNP2K commercial about the social protection identification card.

Targeted information to improve social assistance

Government scale-up improves access to targeted social programs for 65.67 million people. Read More
Three women engage in manual labor in India

Fund flow reform for social program delivery

Central and State governments in India have adopted a financial reform to enhance public service delivery informed by evidence. Read More