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.

Adolescent girls in India

Reducing adolescent pregnancy by increasing educational and economic opportunities in low- and middle-income countries

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Interventions that changed perceptions about girls’ abilities and opportunities or increased the educational and economic opportunities available to them encouraged girls and young women to delay pregnancy.

Changing resumes to reduce hiring discrimination

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Randomized evaluations show strong evidence of hiring discrimination against minority and underrepresented groups in many countries, with most evidence so far coming from developed countries. Where it has been tested using randomization, removing identifying information on job applications had...
Nurse talking to a patient

The impact of price on take-up and use of preventive health products

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Charging fees for many key preventive health products dramatically reduces take-up. Preventive health products distributed for free are generally put to good use.

Microcredit: impacts and limitations

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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...
Electricity meters track residential energy use. Photo: Shutterstock.com

Reducing energy and water use through information and social comparisons

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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.
Political posters in India

Improving women’s representation in politics through gender quotas

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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.
Women processing fruit in baskets

Credit's limited impact on smallholder farm profitability

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Increasing access to traditional microcredit has had limited impacts on smallholder farmers’ profitability in randomized evaluations in developing countries. Demand for new offers of credit was low, ranging from 17 to 33 percent, and even when farmers used traditional credit products to invest in...

Agricultural information and extension services

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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...