March 2023 Newsletter

Woman with three children in childcare center in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
A woman spends time with three children in a childcare center in India.
Photo: Paula Bronstein | Getty Images | Images of Empowerment

Strengthening women’s empowerment through access to childcare

Worldwide, women are much less likely to engage in the labor force than men, and women’s disproportionate childcare burden contributes to this disparity. In a new Policy Insight, J-PAL’s Gender sector reviews evidence from nine childcare interventions in low- and middle-income countries. Enhanced childcare access often increased women’s labor market opportunities by freeing up their time, but interventions were generally most effective when there were not other barriers to employment, such as strict gender norms or limited job opportunities. Read more »

Improving policing accountability to support women in India

Reforms to increase police accessibility and accountability to women are becoming more common to address gender-based violence (GBV). In India, J‑PAL affiliated professor Sandip Sukhtankar (University of Virginia) and coauthors, in partnership with the Madhya Pradesh Police department, evaluated the impact of a program that introduced designated women’s help desks and training for officers.

The study found that officers in stations with help desks were more likely to register cases of GBV, particularly when female officers were assigned to run the help desks. One female officer noted, “I feel that gender sensitization training has brought about a change in the mindset of the entire police force.” Read the policy brief and interviews with officers »

Work with J-PAL LAC to increase women’s agency in Central America

Organizations in Central America are increasingly implementing programs to increase women’s agency—but a lack of rigorous evidence can be a barrier to achieving meaningful impact. J-PAL Latin America and the Caribbean recently launched the Capacity Building and Outreach for Gender Agency in Central America project with support from the Cotopaxi Foundation. Through the project, decision-makers will learn about randomized evaluations, the importance of evidence-informed policymaking, and existing evidence for enhancing women’s and girls’ agency. Read more »

Advancing research on girls’ education

Although girls’ access to education is improving, many girls around the world remain without opportunities for high-quality schooling. In a Center for Global Development Note, J-PAL affiliated professor Selim Gulesci (Trinity College Dublin; Scientific Advisor, J-PAL Africa), recent J-PAL Africa alum Alessia Mortara and coauthors suggest that the research community should coalesce around a set of five coherent research priorities. Read more »


Growing our research network

Invited researchers are an important element of our efforts to increase the number of high-quality randomized evaluations that identify the most effective approaches to reducing poverty and improving lives worldwide.

In 2023, J-PAL is piloting a self-nomination process for invited researcher status. The self-nomination form will be open through June 30, 2023. Due to limited research funds and staff capacity, only up to twenty self-nominated researchers will be selected for invited researcher status in 2023. Read more »


Introducing J-PAL Europe’s new education consortium

In 2022, J-PAL Europe, in collaboration with the French Ministry of Education and leading French universities, launched the Innovation, Data, and Experiments in Education (IDEE) program, with the goal of advancing rigorous evidence generation and use to address education challenges in France. Recently, IDEE hosted a conference that brought together leading education policymakers, practitioners, and researchers. On the J‑PAL blog, J‑PAL affiliated professor Marc Gurgand (Paris School of Economics; Scientific Director, J-PAL Europe), Lou Aisenberg (J‑PAL Europe), and Lisa de Rafols (J-PAL Global) share insights from the conference and how IDEE is bringing stakeholders together. Read more »

Evidence and open questions on agricultural productivity and labor

Agricultural labor impacts and is impacted by gender and household dynamics, mechanization, and income diversification. Research from J-PAL and CEGA’s Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI) seeks to uncover these nuanced dynamics. In a blog post, ATAI staff summarize existing evidence and outline open research questions on how farmers can best utilize household and hired labor, as well as agricultural technologies. Read more »


Apply for Evaluating Social Programs 

Curious to learn more about how rigorous evaluation can help understand whether your organization’s programs are achieving their intended impact? Apply for an upcoming Evaluating Social Programs course to learn why and when randomized evaluations can rigorously measure impact and how findings can inform the design of evidence-based policies and programs. Apply now—space is limited and applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Reminder: Join J-PAL Global and J-PAL North America in Cambridge, MA, US for their Evaluating Social Programs course on June 12–16. Applications are due March 31Learn more and apply »

New: Join J-PAL Africa in Cape Town, South Africa for their Evaluating Social Programs course on July 17–21. Applications are due April 16Learn more and apply »

Upcoming dates for courses in other locations will be announced later in the year. 


African Scholar Spotlight: Japheth Awiti Osotsi Stanley

In our newest African Scholar Spotlight, Japheth Awiti Osotsi Stanley (University of Nairobi) discusses his research on labor markets and education in Kenya. He also shares thoughts on how organizations can expand their support systems to researchers based in Africa, and provides tips for African scholars considering economic research. Read more »


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

Raymond Guiteras, North Carolina State University

Monica Martinez-Bravo, Center for Monetary and Financial Studies

Ricardo Perez-Truglia, UC Berkeley


[April 11] How Brazilian Governments Can Partner with J-PAL LAC

In collaboration with Co-Impact and Community Jameel, J-PAL Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) recently launched a Government Partnerships Expansion program to increase collaboration with governments in Brazil and Mexico . To begin this work in Brazil, J-PAL LAC will host a webinar in Portuguese for government officials from all levels of the Brazilian government to explain the partnership selection process. Register »

[Event recap] Global Evidence for Egypt: Using Evidence to Inform Decision-Making

On January 15, J-PAL Middle East and North Africa and UNICEF co-hosted a conference as part of the Global Evidence for Egypt Spotlight Seminar Series , which brings together Egyptian policymakers and J-PAL affiliated professors to discuss priority policy issues in Egypt. The conference fostered discussions around evidence generation and use, focusing on women’s empowerment, human capital development, financial inclusion, and rural development. Read insights from the event on our blog »


New research finds ‘formality effect’ in local government letters
Bloomberg Cities Network

How debit cards helped Indonesia’s poor get more food
MIT News

After success in Surat, scheme to control air pollution to be implemented in Ahmedabad
The Indian Express

ICYMI: Can moving to a different neighborhood improve your chances in life? [Opinion]


Improving Workplace Climate in Large Corporations: A Clustered Randomized Intervention
Sule Alan, Gozde Corekcioglu, and Matthias Sutter

Life After Death: A Field Experiment with Small Businesses on Information Frictions, Stigma, and Bankruptcy
Shai Bernstein, Emanuele Colonnelli, Mitchell Hoffman, and Benjamin Iverson

Supporting Language Development through a Texting Program: Initial Results from Denmark
Susanna Loeb, Michala Iben Riis-Vestergaard, and Marianne Simonsen

A Randomized Trial Of Letters To Encourage Prescription Monitoring Program Use and Safe Opioid Prescribing
Adam Sacarny, Tatyana Avilova, David Powell, Ian Williamson, Weston Merrick, and Mireille Jacobson