February 2023 Newsletter

Annual report page gif
Animation credit: J-PAL

20 years of improving lives through evidence

Since our founding in 2003 by Abhijit Banerjee (MIT; Director, J‑PAL; Scientific Director, J‑PAL Europe), Esther Duflo (MIT; Director, J-PAL; Scientific Director, J-PAL South Asia), and Sendhil Mullainathan (University of Chicago), J‑PAL has grown into an incredible network of over 750 researchers who have conducted more than 1,600 randomized evaluations. This work has pushed the boundaries of what research can achieve and informed policies that have reached more than 600 million people worldwide.

The 2022-23 edition of “Improving Lives Through Evidence” showcases how our work has evolved over the years, key milestones in our journey, and our ambitious vision for more equitable and evidence-informed policies. Read more »

Launching the Learning for All Initiative

J-PAL’s new Learning for All Initiative (LAI), launched with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Douglas B. Marshall Jr. Family Foundation, and Echidna Giving, will generate evidence and inform policies to improve learning outcomes for students in low- and middle-income countries. LAI will focus on key policy-relevant topics, including foundational literacy and numeracy, pedagogy, and holistic skills. Read more »


Measuring long-term outcomes in randomized evaluations

While many randomized evaluations focus on short- to medium-term outcomes, relatively few measure effects on participants ten or more years post-intervention. On the J‑PAL blog, Sarah Kopper (Associate Director of Research, J-PAL Global) and Therese David (Senior Research and Training Associate, J-PAL Global) share lessons from measuring the impact of programs implemented more than a decade ago. Read more »

J-PAL at 20: Evidence generation and policy impact in Europe

To mark J-PAL’s twentieth anniversary, Anna Schrimpf (Executive Director, J-PAL Europe) looks back on two decades of facilitating evidence generation to inform policy in Europe. Highlights from this work include launching the European Social Inclusion Initiative; creating a policy lab in the Spanish Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security, and Migration; and generating new research on humanitarian effectiveness. Read more »

This blog kicks off a new series from J-PAL Europe that will profile the work of J-PAL affiliated professors, staff, and partners in a different European country each month throughout 2023. Keep an eye on the J‑PAL blog »


The impact of information-sharing on indoor air pollution in France

In a new video in our “Unpacking the Evidence” series, J-PAL affiliated professor Elise Huillery (Paris Dauphine University) explains the outcomes of providing households with information on the consequences of wood heating to decrease indoor air pollution in France. This research suggests the importance of individual biases and inertia in human behavior, and the value of personalized information to counteract these effects. Watch the video »


Monica Martinez-Bravo on advancing evidence-informed policy in Spain

This installment of our Affiliate Spotlight series features Monica Martinez-Bravo (Center for Monetary and Financial Studies). Monica spoke about how she utilizes her research at the intersection of political economy and development to advance evidence-informed policymaking, and has been helping lead a partnership between J-PAL Europe and the Spanish government. Read more »


In summer 2022, 33 talented researchers joined the J-PAL network. We will feature a few of them here each month.

Laura Boudreau, Columbia Business School

Nilesh Fernando, University of Notre Dame

Stefano Fiorin, Bocconi University


[February 23] Launching Government Partnership Expansion in Mexico

J-PAL Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) will host a webinar to announce its Government Partnerships Expansion to all levels of the Mexican government. Participants will learn about past collaborations and the process for being selected to partner with J‑PAL LAC. Claudia Macías (Deputy Executive Director, J-PAL LAC) and Vianney Fernández (Policy and Research Manager, J-PAL LAC) will also hold a live Q&A. The webinar, hosted in collaboration with Co-Impact and Community Jameel, will be held in Spanish. Register »


Applications open for J-PAL’s Evaluating Social Programs courses

How do you know if your organization’s programs are achieving their intended impact? Join J-PAL for our upcoming Evaluating Social Programs courses. These courses will explore why and how randomized evaluations can be used to rigorously measure impact for better development outcomes. Learners will be introduced to the merits of conducting randomized evaluations of social programs, when researchers and policymakers might choose to conduct them, and how evaluations are designed in real-world settings. Candidates are encouraged to apply at their earliest convenience as applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and space is limited. See region-specific courses below:

Join J-PAL South Asia, together with CLEAR South Asia, for a virtual Evaluating Social Programs course March 20–25. Applications are due February 22Learn more and apply »

Join J-PAL Global and J-PAL North America for the Evaluating Social Programs course in-person at MIT on June 12–16. Applications are due March 31Learn more and apply »

[March 7] Last chance to register for MicroMasters’ Spring Semester

The current term of our online MicroMasters in Data, Economics, and Development Policy (DEDP) began January 31, and registration is open until March 7. Learn R while building a strong foundation in probability and statistics in Data Analysis for Social Scientists, learn how to design and implement randomized evaluations in Designing and Running Randomized Evaluations , gain an introduction to empirical research in development economics in The Challenges of Global Poverty, learn how to build and apply economic models relevant to poverty alleviation in Foundations of Development Policy, and explore why and how political institutions affect economic development in Political Economy and Economic Development. Successful completion of these courses counts towards the DEDP MicroMasters credential, with which students are eligible to apply for the on-campus Master’s in DEDP at MIT or earn credit at one of our pathway schoolsLearn more and enroll »


A revolutionary move for a better future

“Every time I meet with her, I feel like I have wings.”
MIT News

New governors can create vital policies by following the evidence [Opinion]
The Hill

CCTs: Closing the gap between children and the care they need [Opinion]
Exemplars in Global Health


The Health of Democracies During the Pandemic: Results from a Randomized Survey Experiment
Marcella Alsan, Luca Braghieri, Sarah Eichmeyer, Minjeong Joyce Kim, Stefanie Stantcheva, and David Y. Yang

Market Design for Land Trade: Evidence from Uganda and Kenya
Gharad Bryan, Jonathan de Quidt, Mariajose Silva-Vargas, Tom Wilkening, and Nitin Yadav

Inefficient Water Pricing and Incentives for Conservation
Ujjayant Chakravorty, Manzoor H. Dar, and Kyle Emerick

The Effects of Working while in School: Evidence from Employment Lotteries
Thomas Le Barbanchon, Diego Ubfal, and Federico Araya


J-PAL celebrates outstanding staff performance in 2022

Whether cleaning up data sets, drafting papers and policy briefs, building long-term relationships with implementing partners, designing training courses, or managing complex finances and operations, J-PAL staff are at the heart of our work. Our annual J-Star awards recognize staff for outstanding performance; this January, at an event held live across the globe with our regional offices, we honored thirteen amazing staff members for developing innovative solutions, championing a positive workplace, and being outstanding contributors. Learn more about the winners and their accomplishments »