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.
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.

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...
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

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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.
A small business owner in Colombia.

Reducing the cost of lending to low-income borrowers

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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.
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.

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...

Increasing enrollment and attendance by making education benefits salient and changing perceptions

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Interventions that address perception gaps about the benefits of education or make the benefits more salient can increase student participation at low cost. In contrast, increases in the quality of education can be difficult for parents to accurately perceive and thus do not necessarily lead to...