Policy Insights

What have we learned from randomized evaluations that policymakers, practitioners, and funders can use to improve social programs? J-PAL’s Policy Insights, organized by sector, highlight lessons emerging across multiple studies and the mechanisms that help explain the results.

J-PAL’s Sector Chairs and staff draw these insights from relevant randomized evaluations, updating and adding insights as the body of evidence grows. Each Policy Insight briefly summarizes their perspective on the evidence on a specific topic, with links to the original research and policy summaries. Read this blog post for more information about how we develop Policy Insights.

When combined with a detailed understanding of context and program implementation, we hope these insights can be practical inputs for policy and program design. For examples of how insights from randomized evaluations have informed policy, visit our Evidence to Policy page.

A street with fruit stands and sellers.

Encouraging micro and small enterprises to formalize

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Informal firms are defined as those that operate outside of the legal and regulatory system and are therefore not registered for the required business operating licenses. Operating formally may allow firms to grow by expanding their customer base, paying fewer fines, and gaining access to more...
A female worker is selling clothes and earning cash.

The impacts of economic interventions on intimate partner violence

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An estimated one in every three women worldwide has suffered physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner in her lifetime. Achieving gender equality and eliminating violence against women are major global development goals. One popular strategy to reduce IPV is to increase women’s access to...
A woman opens her mail while sitting in a chair

Improving tax compliance through reminder messages for taxpayers

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Sending tax reminder messages to taxpayers is a cost-effective strategy to increase short-term tax compliance. Governments looking to improve tax compliance should invest in sending simple deterrence-framed messages to taxpayers.
Nurse meets with a pregnant patient.

Improving health worker performance through pay-for-performance programs

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Pay-for-performance incentive programs for health care workers reward providers based on measurable performance indicators. Providing performance-based pay in addition to base pay can help to improve health provider performance on well-chosen targeted indicators relative to providing only base pay.
A vaccine injection is being prepared for a child.

Increasing routine child immunization coverage in low- and middle-income countries

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Interventions that strengthen the delivery of vaccines and those that generate demand for vaccination are imperative to increasing child immunization coverage. Improved delivery can be achieved by ensuring vaccines are reliably and locally available and strengthening health worker performance, while...
Improving student learning: impacts by gender

Improving student learning: Impacts by gender

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Most programs to improve student learning have similar impacts on girls and boys. However, policymakers should consider potential different effects by gender while designing programs since, in some cases, program design choices led to different impacts on girls and boys.
Job seekers work on their applications

Reducing search barriers for job seekers

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Programs focused on reducing job search barriers often improve job seekers’ employment outcomes. These programs can help job seekers increase their search effort, identify where and how to look for jobs, surmount geographic and financial obstacles to finding a job, and communicate qualifications to...
green watermelons being sold in open air market in Vietnam

Incentivizing higher-quality agricultural outputs

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Despite making investments in technologies and practices to improve the quality of their products, smallholder farmers in low- and middle-income countries do not often receive higher prices for their higher-quality agricultural goods. Disorganized markets with many intermediaries may make quality...