You are here

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.

Improving extension services to increase smallholder productivity

Last updated: 
April 2018
Agricultural information and extension services in developing countries can be improved by adapting the pedagogical model, using information and communications technology (ICT) to reach farmers directly with more tailored and timely information, incentivizing trainers based on learning outcomes, and leveraging social networks for last-mile information delivery. Read More
Jóvenes trabajan en sus postulaciones de trabajo. Photo: Aude Guerrucci | J-PAL

Reducing search barriers for jobseekers

Last updated: 
April 2018
Programs focused on reducing job search barriers often improve jobseekers’ employment outcomes. These programs can help jobseekers identify where and how to look for jobs, encourage increased search effort, and help communicate qualifications to employers. Read More

Microcredit: impacts and limitations

Last updated: 
April 2018
Evidence from randomized evaluations in low- and middle-income countries shows that giving small loans in the form of microcredit did not lead to transformative impacts on income or long-term consumption on average, but it did help households better manage financial choices. Demand for many of the microcredit products was modest. People often used funds for consumption rather than entrepreneurial investments, suggesting that there were high non-entrepreneurial returns to credit. Innovations to... Read More
Electricity meters track residential energy use. Photo: Shutterstock.com

Reducing energy and water use through information and social comparisons

Last updated: 
April 2018
Providing people with information about their energy or water use compared to their neighbors and tips about how to conserve consistently reduced consumption by small amounts in many contexts. Read More
A small business owner in Colombia.

Reducing the cost of lending to low-income borrowers

Last updated: 
April 2018
Product and market innovations that generate more information about borrowers, reduce transaction costs, and encourage repayment all address factors that contribute to the high cost of microcredit in low- and middle-income countries. Read More
Young men participate in an activity for the Becoming a Man program in Chicago. Photo: Rob Kozloff | University of Chicago

Reducing criminal behavior through cognitive behavioral therapy

Last updated: 
April 2018
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can reduce criminal behavior among both at-risk youth and criminally engaged men, likely by helping them focus more on the future, change their self-perceptions, and/or slow their decision-making. Read More
Political posters in India

Improving women’s representation in politics through gender quotas

Last updated: 
April 2018
Gender quotas for women in local government bodies can improve women’s representation in politics, increase provision of public services, and improve perceptions of women as leaders. Read More