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.

Tablet displaying video messages recorded by health care workers

Communicating Covid-19 messages at scale via social media

Researchers applied insights from earlier Covid-19 messaging research to launch a large-scale Facebook messaging campaign and corresponding evaluation reaching more than 35 million people.
A woman wearing a face mask pulls a food item off of the shelf in a grocery store.

Community-based targeting to combat Covid-19-induced poverty

Using community targeting methods to distribute cash transfers during Covid-19 has provided relief to over eight million recipients previously unenrolled in any social protection program in Indonesia.
Men walking on the street wearing masks

Designing a social protection program during Covid-19

J-PAL affiliated researchers supported the Government of Chile in designing a cash transfer program during the Covid-19 pandemic, which reached almost 3 million households.
A woman receives a free insecticide-treated bednet at a health clinic in Kakamega County, Kenya.

Free bednets to fight malaria

Evidence from randomized evaluations played a role in shifting global opinion to support free distribution of key preventive health products.
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.
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.
Farmers use mobile phones

Phone-based technology for agricultural information delivery

In this Evidence to Policy case study, see how Precision Development leveraged findings from two randomized evaluations to create and diffuse a new mobile-phone based model for agricultural extension.
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.