Urban Services Initiative

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Kathmandu, Nepal

J-PAL’s Urban Services Initiative (USI) seeks to identify and rigorously evaluate innovative methods designed to improve the welfare of the urban poor in Africa and Asia.

Through the use of randomized evaluations, the initiative aims to better understand and address important barriers to the provision of critical urban services. USI covers a broad range of urban issues including water, sanitation, and hygiene, migrant integration and livelihoods, energy and the environment, transportation, housing and infrastructure, and delivery of health and education services.


J-PAL affiliates Esther Duflo (Director, J-PAL, MIT) and Mushfiq Mobarak (Yale University).


Support is provided by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Review paper

Improving Access to Urban Services for the Poor: Open Issues and a Framework for a Future Research Agenda, by Esther Duflo, Sebastian Galiani, and Mushfiq Mobarak. October 2012 (PDF)

Executive Summary (PDF)

Funded projects

To date, there are 25 projects funded via USI.


For more information, please email Anu Dathan.