Our Work

At J-PAL North America, we work across a number of program areas to better understand which anti-poverty programs and policies work and why. 

Health         

J-PAL North America’s U.S. Health Care Delivery Initiative (HCDI) catalyzes randomized evaluations of strategies that aim to make health care delivery in the United States more efficient, effective, and equitable. Our Innovation Competition supports health care organizations and government health agencies in the United States in designing and implementing randomized evaluations. Organizations partnered with a researcher in J-PAL’s network are eligible to apply for funding for pilot studies and full randomized evaluations through our bi-annual Request for Proposals (RFP). These partnerships among policymakers, practitioners, and researchers spur policy-relevant research on key health care issues, such as health insurance, substance use and addiction, maternal and child health, and more.

Learn more about the US Health Care Delivery Initiative »  

Education

J-PAL North America’s education work focuses on the identification of evidence-based practices to improve outcomes and address inequity within the education system. Focus areas include the transition from high school to college, tutoring programs, family engagement, and more. 

The Education Technology and Opportunity Initiative specifically seeks to identify effective uses of technology within education. While education technology has the potential to transform instruction, improve lives, and reduce educational inequity, relatively little is known about which approaches are the most effective. For this reason, the initiative published the Education Technology Evidence Review to provide a summary of the existing rigorous evidence on education technology. The initiative also hosts an Innovation Competition and a Request for Proposals in an effort to build partnerships among policymakers, practitioners, and researchers, and deepen the evidence base on this exciting and promising area of work.

Learn more about the Education Technology and Opportunity Initiative »  

Labor markets

Our work in labor markets focuses on evidence-based strategies to make labor markets more equitable, efficient, and just, particularly for low-wage workers. Our newly launched Work of the Future Initiative supports randomized evaluations of strategies and innovations that address the changing nature of work in North America. Through our Work of the Future Innovation Competition, we provide direct support to organizations and agencies interested in evaluating their program or policy related to the changing nature of work. These partnerships among policymakers, practitioners, and researchers aim to spur policy-relevant research on key issues related to the future of work. Organizations partnered with a researcher in J-PAL’s network are also eligible to apply for funding for pilot studies and full randomized evaluations through our bi-annual Request for Proposals.

Learn more about the Work of the Future Initiative »

State & local governments        

Our State and Local Innovation Initiative supports US state and local leaders in using randomized evaluations to generate new and widely applicable lessons about which programs work, which work best, and why. The state and local leaders selected to participate in this initiative serve as a model for others across the United States, demonstrating that state and local governments can create and use rigorous evidence to address challenging social problems. Through this initiative, state and local governments can apply for project development awards, including: up to one year of pro bono technical support as they design randomized evaluations to inform critical policy questions; flexible funding to help get these evaluations off the ground; and connections with J-PAL’s network of leading academic researchers. State and local governments that have partnered with a researcher from J-PAL’s network to design a high-quality randomized evaluation can apply for funding to carry out the evaluations.

Learn more about the State and Local Innovation Initiative »

Reducing and preventing homelessness       

Our work on homelessness seeks to expand the base of rigorous evidence on strategies to reduce and prevent homelessness and promote housing stability. We work with nonprofits and government agencies to design and implement randomized evaluations to test questions that can best inform the policies and programs helping people find and maintain stable, affordable housing. 

Housing mobility

The Creating Moves to Opportunity (CMTO) project is an ongoing collaboration between J-PAL-affiliated researchers and public housing authorities to test programs designed to help families who receive Housing Choice Vouchers move to neighborhoods with higher opportunity.

Crime & violence prevention

Decision-makers need a broad toolbox of credible strategies to reduce unnecessary incarceration and improve correctional equity while maintaining or even enhancing public safety. Our work in this sector seeks to identify and promote evidence-based practices to reduce crime and violence, increase opportunities for individuals who are at-risk for involvement in the justice system, and foster the fairness and efficacy of the institutions and laws that make up the criminal justice system. 

Learn more about the Special RFP: Criminal Justice Reform »

Environment & energy

Our work in environment and energy supports the generation of evidence on equitable programs and policies for efficient energy access and use, reducing exposure to toxics and pollution, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Programs and policies in environment and energy can affect people and places in a number of dimensions, including health, household finances, and labor markets. By providing funding opportunities for evaluations through our Social Policy Research Initiative and offering matchmaking assistance and resources, we seek to support researchers and implementers in generating and using evidence on environmental and energy policies.

Social Policy Research Initiative

J-PAL North America's Social Policy Research Initiative (SPRI), formerly known as the General Research Initiative, supports randomized impact evaluations of innovative social programs and policies that can provide insights for learning which policies work best and why.

Learn more about the Social Policy Research Initiative »

Administrative data

The vast amounts of data now being digitally collected or stored creates tremendous opportunities to transform lives through improved social policy by using administrative data in evaluation. J-PAL North America has a variety of resources to support governments, firms, non-profits, and researchers in using administrative data for rigorous, policy-relevant research. For practical guidance on how to obtain and use administrative data, see Using administrative data for randomized evaluations as well as other topics in our Evaluation Toolkit. Our Catalog of Administrative Data Sets demonstrates that it is feasible, legal, and valuable to use administrative data in randomized evaluations. The site includes a searchable collection of access procedures for research-relevant data sets on topics ranging from crime to health to education. We further highlight the value of administrative data used in a number of high-profile policy-relevant studies through The Lessons of Administrative Data brief. We help policymakers integrate administrative data in evaluations through presentations, trainings, and our research engagements. Our work complements J-PAL's worldwide Innovations in Data and Experiments for Action Initiative (IDEA). For more information about our work on administrative data, please contact us at [email protected].