J-PAL Middle East and North Africa Initiative

J-PAL’s Middle East & North Africa (MENA) Initiative leads J-PAL’s work in the MENA region. Within Egypt, our work is led by the J-PAL/AUC Initiative for Egypt, based at the American University of Cairo. The broader MENA initiative is currently hosted by MIT, with additional staff based around the region. J-PAL’s MENA Initiative conducts randomized evaluations, builds partnerships for evidence-informed policymaking, and helps partners scale up effective programs.

Our work spans a wide range of sectors, including education, finance, and labor. In particular, we focus on issues of high priority to policymakers in the region, including employment, access to finance, refugees and their host communities, and social protection. We partner with researchers from regional universities and collaborate with NGOs, foundations, and governments to help build a culture of evidence-informed decision-making in the region. We conduct capacity building activities for policymakers, researchers, and academics seeking to learn and apply rigorous impact evaluation methods.

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Egyptian rug firms weave their way into foreign markets

From 2011 to 2014, J-PAL affiliates David Atkin and Adam Osman, with co-author Amit K. Khandelwal, evaluated small rug producers in Egypt to understand how exporting affects firms’ profits and productivity.

Affiliate spotlight: Adam Osman on expanding opportunities for evaluation in the MENA region

Adam Osman is an assistant professor of economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and co-Scientific Director of J-PAL’s Middle East and North Africa initiative. He has been a J-PAL affiliate since 2016.