August 2023 Newsletter

Children sit in circle in classroom
Photo credit: Ruth Capon, Department of the Premier Western Cape Government

Adapting evidence to reduce school violence in South Africa

How can governments help respond to the root causes of youth violence in schools? Rigorous evidence has shown that programs inspired by cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help reduce criminal and violent activity. J-PAL Africa partnered with the Western Cape Government in South Africa to implement the CBT-inspired program, Shukuma, to reduce violence in schools. In the first post of a new J-PAL blog series, Lauren Roode (Senior Policy Associate, J-PAL Africa) shares how evidence was adapted to inform the program’s design. Read more »


Low-cost reminders to increase court appearances

Failure to appear in court is criminalized in 46 US states and can carry penalties not associated with an individual’s original charge, including arrest warrants. J-PAL North America’s new Policy Insight synthesizes evidence from twelve randomized evaluations on the impact of low-cost reminders, such as phone calls or text messages, on court appearances. The analysis found that these nudges can increase appearances for people awaiting arraignment and reduce costs for jurisdictions. Read more about the evidence and implementation recommendations »


Partnerships to promote diversity in economics in Peru

In an effort to make the field of economics more diverse, equitable, and inclusive, J-PAL Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) provides support to partners dedicated to fostering greater diversity in economics, such as the Peruvian organization EconThaki. In our latest post of the 20 for 20: Partner Voices blog series, EconThaki co-founders, Jostin Kitmang (J-PAL LAC, Research Manager) and Selene Cueva Madrid (former J-PAL LAC, Senior Research Associate and current University of Chicago, Research Professional), share their vision for creating greater diversity in economics through information, training, and mentoring in Latin America. Read more »

Using evidence to improve early child development programs in Guatemala

In the face of early child development (ECD) challenges in Guatemala, several organizations and government institutions are increasingly recognizing its importance. In a new blog post, J-PAL Latin America and the Caribbean highlights how they are partnering with Universidad del Valle de Guatemala to strengthen research and existing ECD programs in Guatemala to improve the lives of children aged zero to five. Read more »

Key insights from customized government trainings 

J-PAL works closely with partner organizations to tailor training materials to meet the organization’s specific learning goals. Through these courses, J-PAL helps partners establish rigorous evaluation strategies for the social programs they implement and strengthen the culture of evidence-informed decision-making in their institutions. In a new blog post, J‑PAL’s training team highlights how custom courses strengthened government partnerships in Indonesia and Egypt. Read more »


[Event videos] Celebrating J-PAL at 20 and reflecting on lessons for climate and poverty in Europe

To mark J-PAL’s 20th anniversary, J-PAL Europe held a two-day colloquium hosted by the Collège de France in Paris. Policymakers, social innovators, funders, and researchers, including J-PAL co-founders Abhijit Banerjee (MIT; Director, J‑PAL; Scientific Director, J‑PAL Europe) and Esther Duflo (MIT; Director, J-PAL; Scientific Director, J-PAL South Asia), discussed research and policy work in Europe and the role of evidence in alleviating poverty and addressing common challenges on a global scale. In case you missed it, you can view recordings of the event sessions. Watch the event recordings (in French or English) »


[August 15] Enroll in J-PAL 101x: Evaluating Social Programs

J-PAL’s recently updated online course on Evaluating Social Programs is now open for enrollment and begins on August 15. This free, self-paced course explores each step in designing a randomized evaluation—from developing a theory of change and conducting the randomization process to navigating design challenges and ethical considerations. Join a community of learners from around the world who are interested in learning how rigorous evaluation and evidence can ensure their organizations’ programs have the intended impact. Learn more and enroll »

[September 12] Enroll now in the Data, Economics, and Design of Policy MicroMasters Program

The fall term of our online MicroMasters program in Data, Economics, and Design of Policy (DEDP) is open for enrollment. Starting this fall, learners can complete courses in one of two tracks: the International Development Track or the Public Policy Track. Courses start on September 12, including a new elective course. Students who complete the DEDP program credential can apply for the on-campus Master’s in DEDP at MIT or one of the pathway universities. Attend the informational webinar on August 22 at 11:00 am ET to learn more about the new track and enroll »


Using social media to raise awareness of women’s resources
MIT News

Persuading businesses and people to reduce climate emissions is key to slowing climate change – research-based techniques and new approaches from the behavioral sciences can show how to do it
The Conversation

Homelessness prevention proves more effective than retroactive action [Podcast]
KCBS Radio

How worker investments can fuel productivity in India’s manufacturing sector
Ideas for India


Randomized Evaluation of a School-Based, Trauma-Informed Group Intervention for Young Women in Chicago
Monica P. Bhatt, Jonathan Guryan, Harold A. Pollack, Juan C. Castrejon, Molly Clark, Lucia Delgado-Sanchez, Phoebe Lin, Max Lubell, Cristobal Pinto Poehls, Ben Shaver, and Makenzi Sumners

Do Gender-Neutral Job Ads Promote Diversity? Experimental Evidence from Latin America’s Tech Sector
Lucia Del Carpio and Thomas Fujiwara

The Value of Student Debt Relief and the Role of Administrative Barriers: Evidence from the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
Brian Jacob, Damon Jones, and Benjamin J. Keys

Impacts of Electricity Quality Improvements: Experimental Evidence on Infrastructure Investments
Robyn C. Meeks, Arstan Omuraliev, Ruslan Isaev, and Zhenxuan Wang