J-PAL Europe and CEMFI join conference highlighting results from Spanish Inclusion Policy Lab

Dissemination event in Madrid for the Inclusion Policy Lab
Spanish Minister Elma Saiz and J-PAL's Abhijit Banerjee highlight the progress made in the development of an Inclusion Policy Lab in Spain in a discussion moderated by Mónica Zas.
©J-PAL Europe

The European office of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL Europe) and the Centre for Monetary and Financial Studies (Centro de Estudios Monetarios y Financieros, CEMFI) participated in “Inclusion Policy Lab: Scientific Evidence at the Service of People,” an event hosted by the Spanish Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration to disseminate the results of a pioneering partnership to promote evidence generation and use in social policymaking in Spain. 

The event took place on Monday, June 17, in Madrid and gathered Ministry officials, including Minister Elma Saiz, Secretary-General for Inclusion Mónica Martinez-Bravo, researchers and implementing partners, as well as  J-PAL co-founder and Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee.  The event highlighted results from the first round of randomised evaluations launched by the Ministry along with researchers and implementing partners to understand how to effectively promote social inclusion outcomes in Spain. 

The Inclusion Policy Lab was launched by the Ministry in 2021 in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic to rigorously evaluate a series of pilot social inclusion programmes aimed at bolstering the effect of Spain’s new national minimum income scheme on poverty alleviation. Run in partnership with J-PAL Europe and CEMFI, the Lab brings together a group of leading researchers, policymakers, and third-sector institutions (like NGOs and social enterprises) to collectively work towards this mission. Thus far, the Lab has overseen 32 randomised evaluations of such programmes. Evaluations completed between 2022 and 2024 have looked at issues such as the impact of in-person and online tutoring, the importance of personalised, intensive support for jobseekers, and measures to increase the take-up of social benefits.

CEMFI and J-PAL Europe have worked with the Ministry to ensure that the evaluations adhere to rigorous scientific standards and to facilitate the use of the lessons learned from these evaluations to inform policymaking.  CEMFI coordinated a group of 18 international researchers that supported the Ministry and implementing partners in programme design, implementation, and evaluation. J-PAL Europe staff provided technical support to the Ministry at every stage of the evaluation process, supported the generation of rigorous evidence, and promoted evidence-based policymaking. The collaborative effort in Spain is an important part of J-PAL’s Europe broader work to ensure that policymaking aiming to promote social inclusion in Europe is informed by evidence. 


Samuel Bentolila, Professor at CEMFI said:

The Inclusion Policy Lab is a pioneering initiative. Spain has a high proportion of population at risk of poverty or social exclusion, but little experience in the rigorous evaluation of public policies. The Lab has carried out a large number of innovative policies to foster social inclusion in collaboration with public and private entities, and it has evaluated them in cooperation with prestigious academic experts. As a result, we have learned a great deal about the implementation and effectiveness of social policies to better help Spain’s most vulnerable people”.

Executive Director of the Europe office of J-PAL Cillian Nolan said:

“The results presented today mark an important step in strengthening the use of evidence in policymaking in Spain. The Ministry’s investment in building rigorous evidence around social inclusion is unprecedented in scale here in Europe. The next step is to work together to make use of the learnings and translate what we’ve learned from the research to make transformative changes in promoting social inclusion in Spain.” 

Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and J-PAL co-founder Abhijit Banerjee, said: 

“With the establishment of the Inclusion Policy Lab, Spain is putting rigorous evidence at the centre of government conversations about policymaking on improving social inclusion. I believe Spain is setting a great example for other countries in Europe in not only building policymakers’ appetite for evidence and their knowledge of what we know and don’t know, but also in putting the infrastructure in place to get the right data and evaluations to answer critical policy questions. My hope is that this work in Spain will inspire other European countries to make similar investments in their efforts to combat poverty and social exclusion.” 

About J-PAL Europe  

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a global research centre based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. Anchored by a network of more than 297 affiliated researchers and 550 invited researchers at universities around the world, J-PAL conducts randomised impact evaluations to answer critical questions in the fight against poverty. J-PAL co-founders Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, with longtime affiliate Michael Kremer, were awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics for their pioneering approach to alleviating global poverty. 

J-PAL Europe is based at the Paris School of Economics and leads J-PAL’s research, policy, and training work in Europe. J-PAL Europe hosts three research initiatives aiming to generate evidence around key policy priorities in Europe and beyond: the European Social Inclusion Initiative, the Displaced Livelihoods Initiative, and the Humanitarian Protection Initiative

About CEMFI  

The Centre for Monetary and Financial Studies (Centro de Estudios Monetarios y Financieros, CEMFI) is an institution devoted to teaching and research in Economics, offering a high-quality graduate program leading to Master and PhD degrees in Economics. CEMFI has an active and stimulating academic environment, ranking among the top research institutions in Europe. Its faculty members are leaders in their fields of expertise.  

In 2016 and 2022, CEMFI was awarded the “María de Maeztu Unit of Excellence” distinction by the Spanish National Research Agency. This distinction is granted to public research centres and units that demonstrate global scientific leadership and impact. 


For questions and more information regarding the Inclusion Policy Lab, contact Ana Garcia-Hernandez, Senior Policy and Research Manager ([email protected]).