October 09, 2009

A recent Aid Watch blog post from guest blogger, Franck Wiebe (who also happens to be my former boss,) gives a very clear explanation why the “helicopter test” makes a lot of sense in weighing which assistance programs to fund.  He writes,

“In the face of particularly senseless uses of foreign assistance, aid workers sometimes say 'it would have been better to drop the money out of a helicopter' to convey how bad programs waste money.”

The helicopter analogy itself might come off as a rather flippant way to...

Nolwenn Gontard
Leigh Linden, Edward Miguel, Michael Kremer, Esther Duflo, Rema Hanna
September 11, 2009

It is a difficult and not particularly fruitful debate when different sectors important to economic development are pitted against one another in the quest for donor attention. Lasting development progress usually encompasses many areas, and debates that fail to recognize this are often just distracting.   Some of the more interesting (and no less heated) debates are waged once a specific sector of focus or growth constraint has been identified.

For example, once we have decided that education is crucial, how do we act upon this decision? Should we hire more teachers? Are extra...

Thomas Chupein
Esther Duflo, Rema Hanna
August 24, 2009

Why millions of the world´s poor still choose to go private (from The Financial Times)

Even though public school teachers and public doctors tend to be much more qualified (and cheaper to access) than their private sector counterparts, people in the developing world tend to choose the private option.

Why?  Private practitioners only get paid if they do a good job, and so their incentives are in the right place, unlike government employees in most places who draw a fixed salary no matter what.

IPA Research Affiliates have done projects on how...

Media Coverage
August 20, 2009

This article on fighting poverty by improving the situation of women in the developing world mentions IPA Research Affiliate Michael Kremer's work in Kenya, and also quotes Research Affiliate Esther Duflo. 

"...SO WHAT WOULD an agenda for fighting poverty through helping women look like? You might begin with the education of girls — which doesn’t just mean building schools. There are other innovative means at our disposal. A study in Kenya by Michael Kremer, a Harvard economist, examined six different approaches to improving educational performance, from providing free textbooks to...

Media Coverage
May 10, 2009

Research Affiliate Esther Duflo writes about the benefits of keeping girls in school and how IPA's Ghana Secondary School Project for Girls works.

Angela Ambroz
Dean Karlan, Bram Thuysbaert, Christopher Udry
April 10, 2009

We were pleased to see Bill Easterly highlight The Hunger Project, a partner of our's in Ghana, on his blog, Aid Watch.  In fact, it wasn't necessary for skepticism to take a full day off because there is a rigorous evaluation of the project underway.  With funding from the Robertson Foundation, researchers at Yale, Berkeley and IPA have just begun a study of the project's impact on the communities in Eastern Ghana.  

The interesting thing about this project is the impressive committment of THP to not only the mission of...

Media Coverage
November 17, 2008

Thomas Bossuroy and Clara Delavallade describe how school-based deworming programs dramatically improve child health and education at a low cost.

Media Coverage
January 28, 2008

Karthik Muralidharan expands on his dissertation research to determine how best to compensate teachers in India so they are accountable for their student's performance.

Media Coverage
January 24, 2008

Esther Duflo wondered whether there was anything that could be done about absentee teachers in rural India. She and colleague Rema Hanna tested the use of cameras to monitor teacher attendance (and salary incentives based on attendance records), and it worked.

Related Projects:
Encouraging Teacher Attendance through Monitoring with Cameras in Rural India

Media Coverage
May 24, 2007

Esther Duflo was recently named by Forbes Magazine as one of the "Ten People Who Could Change the World."

Media Coverage
August 06, 2006

At a time when millions of people each year are still being infected with the virus that causes AIDS, particularly in Africa, a rigorous new study has identified several simple, inexpensive methods that helped reduce the spread of the disease among Kenyan teenagers, especially girls.

Media Coverage
June 19, 2006

A new breed of development economists are using the tools of hard science to put poverty programs under the microscope--and upending a lot of conventional wisdom about what works.

Related Projects:
Encouraging Teacher Attendance through Monitoring with Cameras in Rural India