The Philippines Socioeconomic Panel Survey (PSPS) is a twenty-year survey in rural Western Visayas providing policymakers and researchers the opportunity to test and scale innovations that improve lives.
One major constraint in evaluating the effectiveness of social programs is the lack of long-term and high-quality data. Most data collection efforts focus on a few variables of interest relevant to a particular policy question or impact evaluation and are conducted at a single point in time. However, panel studies have the potential to provide rich data by regularly tracking individuals over an extended period of time on a wide range of dimensions.
Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) Philippines and the Global Poverty Research Lab (GPRL) at Northwestern University have partnered with the Philippines Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) and the University of the Philippines School of Economics (UPSE) to launch a twenty-year panel survey, tracking a sample of rural households in over 500 barangays in Western Visayas. The survey will cover demographic information, economic indicators, and key priority sectors in the Philippines, such as education, livelihoods, health, and migration.
The PSPS in Western Visayas will act as a piloting ground for both private and public social innovations that aim to improve the lives of those experiencing poverty. The survey will provide publicly available data for government actors, researchers, and practitioners to better understand the long-run processes of social and economic development through regular in-person data collection efforts every four years. This data will serve as a baseline, midline, and endline for different studies, enabling rigorous impact evaluations that test specific programs and policies before they are scaled up nationwide.
By targeting a specific region in the Philippines, we are able to deepen our understanding of household circumstances and choices over the years, avoiding being “thinly spread” across the whole archipelago while only capturing a fraction of these complex variables. The first wave of data collection is scheduled to begin in August 2023, with subsequent waves collected every four years until 2043.
Planned Studies Supported by the PSPS
- Enumerator Recruitment Experiment: Do enumerator recruiting strategies affect data quality?
- Higher Education: Would a promise of funding higher education influence early childhood learning and parent’s educational investment?
- International Care Ministries Livelihoods Graduation: Can large cash grants catalyze microenterprises and improve the financial well-being of the poor?
- Aspirations for the self and for society: How can aspirational interventions affect economic mobility and attitudes towards inequality?
Global Poverty Research Lab
The Global Poverty Research Lab (GPRL) at Northwestern University is an academic hub for empirical developmental economics. Founded in 2017, GPRL focuses on empirical evidence and interdisciplinary engagement to understand drivers, consequences, and solutions to global poverty issues.
Much of GPRL's research is organized into three geographic clusters - the Philippines, China, and Ghana. Within each cluster, GPRL researchers conduct research on various topics including agriculture, education, health, and financial access. GPRL recognizes the value of a cluster-based approach to research, as it allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the issues, leveraging common infrastructure and creating complementarities between projects. In addition to the geographic clusters, GPRL has a Research Methods Cluster to improve data quality, research design, and fieldwork implementation, and an Evidence to Policy cluster, that looks into the relationship between research and policy applications.
University of the Philippines School of Economics
The University of the Philippines School of Economics (UPSE) is a degree-granting unit of the University of the Philippines Diliman. The School offers two Bachelor of Science degrees (BS Economics and BS Business Economics), two master's degrees (MA in Economics and Master in Development Economics), and the PhD in Economics. Established in 1965, UPSE continues to adhere to international standards of excellence and constantly introduces innovations in teaching, research and public service. UPSE has an internationally renowned Ph.D. program in economics.
Awarded as the Center of Excellence in Economics in 1999 by the Commission on Higher Education, the School is known for graduates who have been rigorously trained and prepared to become leaders in the field. Many of the prime movers in government, business, civil society and academia obtained their formal training in economics from UPSE.
UPSE occupies the buildings of the Philippine Center for Economic Development along Osmeña Avenue, UP Campus, Diliman, Quezon City.
We want evidence that is generated locally and used locally. Following this mission, UPSE will support the PSPS by grounding the panel survey and sub-studies within local academia, connecting academics and researchers to our work, and providing mentorship opportunities and fellowships to young PIs and recent graduates.
Philippines Institute for Development Studies
PIDS serves as the Philippine government's primary socioeconomic policy think tank. Since its establishment in 1977, PIDS has been engaged in the conduct of policy-oriented studies to assist policymakers and planners in crafting development policies, plans, and programs that are based on sound research evidence. It has completed numerous studies on a wide range of development topics. These studies have supported the Philippine government in the formulation of relevant policies and programs that are vital to attain inclusive and sustainable development. The Institute has also made significant contributions and influence to Philippine policy development through its active and close collaboration with Congress, government agencies especially the oversight offices (National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Finance), academic and research organizations, private sector, civil society, and international organizations. Its research outputs are widely disseminated through publications, seminars and conferences, knowledge databases, and social media.
We want evidence that is generated and used locally. Following this mission, PIDS will support the PSPS by ensuring the data generated by the survey and evidence generated by PSPS sub-studies is most useful to key decision makers in government. PSPS will connect our work with both central and local government, and it will provide opportunities such as policy dialogues and networking platforms to bring together research and policy.
How to Get Involved
IPA Philippines is seeking implementing partners—such as governments, NGOs, and multilateral organizations—who are interested in measuring the impact of their programs or testing out new innovations before they are scaled up. The PSPS will provide a holistic approach to answering policy and program questions through overlapping new studies with our PSPS household sample.
For more information about the Philippines Socioeconomic Panel Survey, data access, and how to inform your programs, please contact Tara Marwah, Policy Manager at IPA Philippines.