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IPA invites experienced research firms to submit proposals to deliver various research deliverables, including in-person stakeholder interviews, provide in-person support for a virtual human-centered design workshop, a quantitative survey, and to conduct supplemental qualitative research among women-owned MSMEs in Indonesia.  

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Research Resource
Date:
September 15, 2020
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We examine some effects of Universal Basic Income (UBI) during the COVID-19 pandemic using a large-scale experiment in rural Kenya. Transfers significantly improved well-being on common measures such as hunger, sickness and depression in spite of the pandemic, but with modest effect sizes. They may have had public health benefits, as they reduced hospital visits and decreased social (but not commercial) interactions that influence contagion rates. During the pandemic (and contemporaneous agricultural lean season) recipients lost the income gains from starting new non-agricultural enterprises that they had initially obtained, but also suffered smaller increases in hunger. This pattern is consistent with the idea that UBI induced recipients to take on more income risk in part by mitigating the most harmful consequences of adverse shocks.

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Working Paper
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September 02, 2020
Spanish

Se ha demostrado que en situaciones de emergencia la asistencia de dinero ayuda a los beneficiarios a mitigar las consecuencias económicas resultantes, por ejemplo, mediante el aumento de la seguridad alimentaria. La Devolución del IVA, una nueva transferencia de dinero incondicional en Colombia, asistirá a 1 millón de hogares de bajos ingresos en atravesar la crisis económica a causa de la pandemia del COVID-19. A través de una evaluación aleatoria, los investigadores podrán medir los efectos de la transferencia en la salud física y mental de los beneficiarios, la seguridad alimentaria, la seguridad financiera y el aprendizaje de los niños, entre otros. 

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August 11, 2020
Spanish

La propagación global del COVID-19 y las medidas de confinamiento para contenerle han incrementado el estrés económico y la violencia doméstica. Para enfrentar este desafío, los investigadores se han asociado en Colombia con IPA, Fundación Capital y Comfama para evaluar el impacto de una intervención interactiva basada en WhatsApp, que pretende mejorar la salud financiera y reducir la violencia doméstica al introducir consejos de comunicación de pareja en un programa existente de educación financiera. Los investigadores están midiendo el impacto en capacidad financiera, empoderamiento de las mujeres e incidencia de la violencia doméstica en el contexto de la pandemia por COVID-19. 

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Brief
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July 24, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic threatens lives and livelihoods, and, with that, has created immediate challenges for institutions that serve affected communities. We focus on implications for local microfinance institutions in Pakistan, a country with a mature microfinance sector, serving a large number of households. The institutions serve populations poorly-served by traditional commercial banks, helping customers invest in microenterprises, save, and maintain liquidity. We report results from ‘rapid response’ phone surveys of about 1,000 microenterprise owners, a survey of about 200 microfinance loan officers, and interviews with regulators and senior representatives of microfinance institutions. We ran these surveys starting about a week after the country went into lockdown to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. We find that, on average, week-on-week sales and household income both fell by about 90%. Households’ primary immediate concern in early April became how to secure food. As a result, 70% of the sample of current microfinance borrowers reported that they could not repay their loans; loan officers anticipated a repayment rate of just 34% in April 2020. We build from the results to argue that COVID-19 represents a crisis for microfinance in low-income communities. It is also a chance to consider the future of microfinance, and we suggest insights for policy reform.

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Published Paper
Date:
June 18, 2020
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The income elasticity of labor supply is a central parameter of many economic models. We test how labor supply and effort in northern Ghana respond to exogenous changes in income and wages using a randomized evaluation of a multi-faceted grant program combined with a bag-making operation. We find that recipients of the grant program increase, rather than reduce, their supply of labor. We argue that simple models with either labor or capital market frictions are not sufficient to explain the results, whereas a model that allows for a positive psychological produc- tivity effect from higher income does fit our findings.

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May 14, 2020
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Uganda has made substantial advancements in nancial consumer protection policy in recent years but understanding whether and how the nancial sector complies with these new regulations can be a challenge in the absence of systematic monitoring. Setting rules is insufficient to ensure proper market conduct, so supervision of sales visits is needed to ensure that the rules established are upheld in practice. To provide a snapshot of current practices and compliance with existing guidelines on consumer credit information provision at the point of sale, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) conducted a “mystery shopping” exercise of lending institutions in three districts of Uganda. For this survey, a mystery shopper posed as a regular customer and, unannounced, visited lenders in order to discover information about the loan application process without the credit officer knowing they are being observed, and thus avoiding impacting their normal behavior or practices.

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Report
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May 08, 2020

Los bancos de microcrédito pueden operar de manera más eficiente si sus asesores de crédito distribuyen su carga de trabajo de manera uniforme a lo largo del tiempo, lo que resulta en un flujo de caja más estable para el banco. Sin embargo, los asesores de crédito, como muchas personas, tienden a procrastinar. Esta evaluación en Colombia encontró que la introducción de objetivos a corto plazo, recordatorios positivos e incentivos, llevaron a un cambio significativo en la forma en que los asesores de crédito asignaron su tiempo y mejoraron su desempeño. No obstante, el efecto de estas pequeñas intervenciones se volvió significativo cuando los gerentes de sucursal fueron incluidos en la intervención.

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February 25, 2020
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Los productos financieros tienen el potencial de ayudar a las personas en condición de pobreza, sin embargo, la mayoría de las instituciones financieras son impulsadas por objetivos comerciales, y su personal puede no tener incentivos a ofrecer productos más adecuados para los clientes de bajos ingresos. Este estudio de auditoría tiene como objetivos determinar los tipos de información que las instituciones proporcionan a los clientes financieros de bajos ingresos en zonas urbanas de Colombia, e identificar diferencias en el trato de las instituciones hacia los clientes con base en el conocimiento financiero percibido.

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February 25, 2020

We study a simple savings scheme that allows workers to defer receipt of part of their wages for three months at zero interest. The scheme significantly increases savings during the deferral period, leading to higher post-disbursement spending on lumpy expenditures. Two years later, after two additional rounds of the savings scheme, we find that treated workers have made permanent improvements to their homes. The popularity of the scheme suggests a lack of good alternative savings options, and analysis of a follow-up experiment shows that demand for the scheme is also due to the scheme’s ability to address self-control issues.

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Working Paper
Date:
October 30, 2019
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Numerosos gobiernos en países de ingresos medios y bajos, como Brasil y México, han adoptado programas de transferencias monetarias condicionadas (TMC) como una red de protección social, pero la mayoría de los beneficiarios de estas transferencias tienen poca o nula experiencia en el manejo de productos financieros formales. Para contribuir a cerrar la brecha respecto a la capacidad financiera de los beneficiarios del programa de transferencias condicionadas del Gobierno de Colombia, Fundación Capital diseñó LISTA, un programa basado en la noción de "liberar la educación financiera" del aula mediante el uso de aplicaciones diseñadas para usarse en tabletas. Los investigadores colaboraron con la Fundación Capital y el Gobierno de Colombia para realizar una evaluación aleatoria (RCT por sus siglas en inglés) de LISTA para estudiar su impacto sobre el conocimiento y el comportamiento financiero. LISTA tuvo impactos positivos significativos en el conocimiento financiero, las actitudes, las prácticas y el desempeño de los participantes. Muchos de estos impactos persistieron incluso después de dos años, mientras que algunos disminuyeron con el tiempo. El impacto a largo plazo en la participación en el sistema financiero formal fue limitado, lo que sugiere que la educación financiera por sí sola puede no es suficiente para aumentar la inclusión financiera formal.

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Brief
Date:
September 22, 2019
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Can greater control over earned income incentivize women to work and influence gender norms? In collaboration with Indian government partners, we provided rural women with individual bank accounts and randomly varied whether their wages from a public workfare program were directly deposited into these accounts or into the male household head’s account (the status quo). Women in a random subset of villages were also trained on account use. In the short run, relative to women just offered bank accounts, those who also received direct deposit and training increased their labor supply in the public and private sectors. In the long run, gender norms liberalized: women who received direct deposit and training became more accepting of female work, and their husbands perceived fewer social costs to having a wife who works. These effects were concentrated in households with otherwise lower levels of, and stronger norms against, female work. Women in these households also worked more in the long run and became more empowered. These patterns are consistent with models of household decision-making in which increases in bargaining power from greater control over income interact with, and influence, gender norms.

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Working Paper
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September 01, 2019
English

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy non-profit that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA brings together researchers and decision-makers to design, rigorously evaluate, and refine these solutions and their applications, ensuring that the evidence created is used to improve the lives of the world’s poor. Since our founding in 2002, IPA has worked with over 575 leading academics to conduct over 650 evaluations in 51 countries. Future growth will be concentrated in focus countries, such as Myanmar, where we have local and international staff, established relationships with government, NGOs, and the private sector, and deep knowledge of local issues.

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Brief
Date:
July 08, 2019
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There is little evidence on how the large market for credit score improvement products affects consumers or credit market efficiency. A randomized encouragement design on a standard credit builder loan (CBL) identifies null average effects on whether consumers have a credit score and the score itself, with important heterogeneity: those with loans outstanding at baseline fare worse, those without fare better. Selection, treatment effect, and prediction models indicate the CBL reveals valuable information to markets, inducing positive selection and making credit histories more precise, while keeping credit scores’ predictive power intact. With modest targeting changes, CBLs could work as intended.

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Working Paper
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July 01, 2019

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