May 2019 Newsletter

May 7, 2019
A digital map of the world with different data points

J-PAL launches IDEA Initiative: Innovations in Data and Experiments for Action

Around the world, vast amounts of data are now being digitally collected or stored, creating tremendous opportunities to transform lives through improved social policy. Yet little of this data is accessed, analyzed, or used in impact evaluations to improve decision-making.

Our new IDEA Initiative will create and support long-term partnerships with governments, firms, and nonprofits to make their administrative data more accessible, analyze data to improve decision-making, and collaborate with researchers to use data in randomized evaluations and innovative programs. Read more »

Encouraging reporting of violence against women

In recent years a growing number of randomized evaluations have been launched to help identify concrete measures to increase reporting of domestic violence and reduce its incidence. We reviewed recent studies focused on shifting social norms, as well as equipping the police to better assist victims. Read more »

Leveraging evidence to address climate change

At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December 2018 (COP24), parties agreed to a rulebook that lays out how governments measure, report, and verify emissions under the Paris Agreement. J-PAL’s Environment & Energy team discusses possible policies and programs to help countries meet their climate goals. Read more »


Will Dobbie on conducting research to reduce inequalities in the United States

J-PAL affiliate Will Dobbie (Princeton University) was recently awarded a 2019 Sloan Research Fellowship, presented to early-career scientists of outstanding promise. In an interview with J-PAL, Will reflects on the award, his journey to the field of economics, and his interest in inequality research. Read more »


Data, Decisions, Public Policy talk with Roberto Rigobon: May 14

J-PAL will host a talk with Roberto Rigobon (MIT) as part of our D²P²: Data, Decisions, Public Policy lecture series. Roberto will speak about the modern history of Venezuela, beginning before the discovery of the country’s oil reserves, through today’s turmoil and humanitarian crisis. The lecture will take place at MIT and be streamed via live webcast. Register now »


MicroMasters summer enrollment now open

The next semester of our online MicroMasters in Data, Economics, and Development Policy (DEDP) begins May 21. Students who complete the full DEDP credential are eligible to apply for the new blended Master of Applied Science in DEDP at MIT. Course offerings include Microeconomics, The Challenges of Global Poverty, Data Analysis for Social Scientists, Foundations of Development Policy, and Designing and Running Randomized Evaluations.

Learn more about the benefits of the program from Olive, a credential holder in Kenya, and register now to begin your credential today »

Open enrollment for online course: Addressing health challenges in Africa

Drawing on evidence from randomized evaluations conducted by J-PAL affiliates, this free online course focuses on identifying and addressing health challenges and ways to enhance health policies and programs in francophone countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This course will be presented in French with English, Spanish, and Portuguese subtitles and will begin on June 3. Register here »

Apply now for 2019 Executive Education courses

J-PAL’s flagship in-person training course, Evaluating Social Programs, equips participants with resources and knowledge to design, use, and accurately interpret evidence from impact evaluations. Learn more and apply to participate in one of the upcoming trainings:

Banda Aceh, Indonesia: July 20-21
Applications due June 30.

Cape Town, South Africa: July 29-August 1
Applications due May 12.


Applying lessons from war-torn Africa to Chicago
The Economist

A wellness program at work may make you feel good, but it won’t improve your health
Los Angeles Times

J-PAL North America’s newest initiative explores the work of the future
MIT News

Economics as a force for good: Iqbal Dhaliwal delivers Wyner lecture
The Roxbury Latin School

Catalyzing new partnerships gender equality South Asia
J-PAL Blog


Disrupting education? Experimental evidence on technology-aided instruction in India
Karthik Muralidharan, Abhijeet Singh, Alejandro J. Ganiman

Effect of a workplace wellness program on employee health and economic outcomes
Zirui Song, Katherine Baicker

Eliciting and utilizing willingness-to-pay: Evidence from field trials in northern Ghana
James Berry, Greg Fischer, Raymond Guiteras

The welfare effects of social media
Hunt Allcott, Luca Braghieri, Sarah Eichmeyer, Matthew Gentzkow


Senior Research Manager, IDEA Initiative, J-PAL Global, Cambridge, United States
Research, Education, and Training Associate, J-PAL Global, Cambridge, United States
Managing Director, TaRL Africa, Ghana, Kenya, or South Africa
Associate Director of Policy, J-PAL North America, Cambridge, United States
Research Manager, J-PAL MENA Initiative, Cairo, Egypt
Research Associate, Job Training Project, J-PAL MENA Initiative, Cairo, Egypt
Senior Manager, Policy and Research, J-PAL South Asia, Tamil Nadu, India

Explore open positions around the world »
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The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a global research center working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. Anchored by a network of more than 170 affiliated professors at universities around the world, J-PAL draws on results from randomized impact evaluations to answer critical questions in the fight against poverty. We build partnerships with governments, NGOs, donors, and others to share this knowledge, scale up effective programs, and advance evidence-informed decision-making. J-PAL was launched at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2003 and has regional centers in Africa, Europe, Latin America & the Caribbean, North America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.

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