August 2021 Newsletter

5 individuals in a meeting
Photo: Rajdeep Ray |

Helping small businesses adapt and scale: A new focus for the Jobs and Opportunity Initiative

Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are a fundamental piece of the development puzzle: through creating jobs and increasing productivity, they offer a path out of poverty for business owners and employees. Building on an existing body of evidence, J-PAL’s Jobs and Opportunity Initiative will expand its scope to further investigate the scaling potential of promising programs and policies to help MSMEs overcome growth challenges. Read more »

Strengthening vaccine demand and delivery

While logistics are essential for global vaccine delivery, considering behavioral drivers of vaccine uptake is important for increasing both routine and Covid-19 immunization rates. An updated Evidence Wrap-up from J-PAL’s Health sector shares policy lessons from rigorous research on how to strengthen vaccine delivery and motivate people to get vaccinated. Read more »

Learn about J-PAL’s response to Covid-19


Getting parents involved in children’s education in France

Parental involvement can be important for children’s educational success. However, socioeconomically disadvantaged parents may face obstacles to engaging with their children’s schooling.

In France, J-PAL affiliated professors Marc Gurgand (Paris School of Economics; Scientific Director, J-PAL Europe), Eric Maurin (Paris School of Economics), and coauthors conducted a randomized evaluation to assess if meetings between parents and school leaders affected parental involvement, educational outcomes, and children’s behavior. They found that meetings increased parents’ participation and reduced students’ delinquent behavior and absenteeism. Read more »


Scaling back an evaluated program: Biometric tracking for health workers

Health worker absenteeism is a problem in Karnataka, India, where many doctors are only at the health center during working hours about 35 percent of the time. A new Evidence to Policy video explains how a 2013 evaluation of biometric identification for tracking health worker attendance, conducted by Iqbal Dhaliwal (MIT; Global Executive Director, J-PAL; Scientific Director, J-PAL South Asia) and Rema Hanna (Harvard; Scientific Director, J-PAL Southeast Asia) in partnership with the Government of Karnataka and the National Health Mission, led the government to scale down the program. Watch the video »


Adam Osman on evidence-driven policy in the Middle East

On the J-PAL blog, Adam Osman (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; Scientific Director, J-PAL Middle East and North Africa) discusses insights from his work on youth employment, market access, and financial inclusion in the Middle East—one of the most understudied regions of the world. His research provides a foundation for evidence-driven policy in the region. Read more »


[Webinar recording] Emerging Challenges of the Post-Pandemic Era: Addressing Opportunity, Inequality, and Growth

J-PAL Southeast Asia’s recent webinar discussed lessons from global evidence and the Government of Indonesia’s policy responses to challenges in health, inequality, and the environment, with the ultimate goal of supporting post-pandemic economic recovery and resilience. The webinar featured HE Sri Mulyani (Minister of Finance, Republic of Indonesia) and Abhijit Banerjee (MIT; Director, J-PAL; Scientific Director, J-PAL Europe) and was moderated by M. Chatib Basri (Co-Founder and Senior Partner, Creco). Watch the recording »


Who discriminates in hiring? A new study can tell.
New York Times

We are supported by... Esther Duflo [Podcast]
Armchair Expert

Sleep deprivation rampant among Chennai’s poor: study
The Hindu

Study finds physicians are widely effective messengers of Covid-19 information
MIT News

For equitable pandemic recovery, invest in summer jobs programs
The Hill


Digital Addiction
Hunt Allcott, Matthew Gentzkow, Lena Song

Pay Me Later: Savings Constraints and the Demand for Deferred Payments
Lasse Brune, Eric Chyn, Jason Kerwin

The Demand for Mobility: Evidence from an Experiment with Uber Riders
Peter Christensen, Adam Osman

Effect of Physician-Delivered Covid-19 Public Health Messages and Messages Acknowledging Racial Inequity on Black and White Adults’ Knowledge, Beliefs, and Practices Related to Covid-19: A Randomized Clinical Trial
Carlos Torres, Lucy Ogbu-Nwobodo, Marcella Alsan, Fatima Cody Stanford, Abhijit Banerjee, Emily Breza, Arun G. Chandrasekhar, Sarah Eichmeyer, Mohit Karnani, Tristan Loisel, Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham, Benjamin A. Olken, Pierre-Luc Vautrey, Erica Warner, Esther Duflo, for the Covid-19 Working Group