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Innovations for Poverty Action’s Peace & Recovery (P&R) competitive research fund supports randomized evaluations and related research on reducing violence and fragility, promoting peace, and preventing, managing, and recovering from crises. The program supports policy-relevant studies that develop, illustrate, or test fundamental theories of peace, violence, and recovery, especially those that challenge common beliefs, pioneer innovative interventions, and produce evidence where little currently exists. To date, we have funded over 80 projects in approximately 30 countries.  
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Brief
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June 23, 2022
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A large and growing segment of the Bangladesh population are digital financial service (DFS) users, yet little has been done to investigate the range and prevalence of consumer protection issues that occur with these services such as fraud, hidden fees, and ineffective complaints mechanisms. In other markets, evidence suggests some customer segments, for example, women and lower-income customers may experience these issues at higher rates than the population at large. To better understand the nature of risks in DFS in Bangladesh, IPA conducted a phone survey of DFS users in November 2021, the results of which are presented in this report. This report finds that scams, overcharging, and poor customer care were the most common consumer protection challenges faced by digital financial service users, although these were all reported at lower levels than similar surveys in Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda. The report also reveals that consumers often do not report challenges through formal compla...
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Report
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June 14, 2022
ENGLISH
Households living in extreme poverty face many challenges that restrict their ability to earn a living, but historically, policies aimed at building pathways out of poverty have focused only on one or few constraints. Evidence from NGO programs points to the promise of multi-faceted programs, but questions remain around the effectiveness and scalability of such programs through government systems. In collaboration with Government Safety Nets Units, Innovations for Poverty Action, and partner researchers evaluated the impact of multidimensional economic inclusion programs delivered on top of national cash transfer programs to address several poverty challenges simultaneously. The evaluation included programs in Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal, all countries in the Sahel region. This brief presents the main findings of the evaluation in Niger. Results for Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Senegal will be presented in forthcoming briefs.      Les ménages vivant dans l’extrême pau...
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Brief
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June 10, 2022
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IPA’s Human Trafficking Research Initiative (HTRI) has launched its second Call for Expressions of Interest (EOI) for full randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and other rigorous impact evaluations to assess the impact of counter-trafficking programs. Proposals are due by 11:59 pm US Eastern time on Friday, August 5, 2022. HTRI welcomes proposals to assess counter-trafficking interventions that fall into any or all of the "4P’s” (prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnership). Funding priorities are guided by HTRI’s Research and Learning Agenda, which outlines key research gaps under the 4P’s. Applicants are instructed to read the Research and Learning Agenda and refer to one or more of HTRI’s priority research questions that their research project intends to address. Research that is primarily qualitative or descriptive will NOT be considered for funding under HTRI. Applicants can request full funding for RCTs, partial funding for RCTs, or funding for new arms of existing RCTs,...
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Research Resource
Date:
June 08, 2022
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The Human Trafficking Research Initiative (HTRI) is a five-year program funded by the Program to End Modern Slavery (PEMS) at the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office) and implemented by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA). HTRI seeks to expand the evidence on the primary drivers of human trafficking and the most effective ways to prevent this pervasive problem. HTRI has developed this research and learning agenda to guide the project’s research and policy efforts by: Identifying inefficiencies and critical evidence gaps hindering the success of international anti-human trafficking initiatives; Providing information and evidence to guide HTRI’s grant-making selection process; Shaping HTRI’s knowledge management and policy change agenda through new knowledge and data gathered from HTRI-funded research. This document outlines the current priority research questions and working analytic framework to promote analysis of programs spanni...
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Research Resource
Date:
June 07, 2022
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In Liberia, an 8-week CBT program paired with cash transfers, called the Sustainable Transformation for Youth in Liberia (STYL) program, successfully reduced criminal, violent, and other antisocial behaviors over a ten-year period. The STYL program, developed by the local community organization Network for Empowerment & Progressive Initiative (NEPI), involved therapy led by reformed street youth and ex-combatants. The program was low-cost, with a budget of $530 US per participant for CBT, cash, and administration.
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Brief
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June 06, 2022
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New monitoring technologies can help curb illegal activities by reducing information asymmetries between enforcing and monitoring government agents. I created a novel dataset using machine learning predictions on satellite imagery that detects illegal mining. Then I disclosed the predictions to government agents to study the impact on illegal activity. I randomly assigned municipalities to one of four groups: (1) information to the observer (local government) of potential mine locations in his jurisdiction; (2) information to the enforcer (National government) of potential mine locations; (3) information to both observer and enforcer, and (4) a control group, where I informed no one. I use an independent expert validated dataset that measures gold mining to evaluate the effect of the intervention. I find that the effect of treatment is relatively similar regardless of who is informed: in treated municipalities, illegal mining is reduced by 11% in the disclosed locations and surrounding...
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Working Paper
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May 27, 2022
Spanish
La evaluación de Ingreso Solidario demuestra la importancia del programa como herramienta de política pública para mitigar los choques de ingresos, laborales y alimentarios ocasionados por la pandemia del COVID-19 y reducir la caída en pobreza de los hogares vulnerables más golpeados por su presencia en Colombia.
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Brief
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May 24, 2022
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Using a randomized field experiment in Costa Rica, we estimate the effect of providing parents of preschool students with a text message intervention containing information and activities to engage them with their children's learning process at home. After 15 weeks of intervention, the cognitive skills of children whose parents were assigned to the program was 0.11-0.12 standard deviations higher than the control group. We find suggestive evidence that the effect was driven by an increase in parent involvement through the proposed activities from the text message campaign.
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Working Paper
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May 20, 2022
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Formal financial inclusion remains low in Nigeria: just about three percent of adult Nigerians have borrowed from formal sources, and less than half (forty-five percent) have a formal account at either a bank or microfinance institution (EFInA Access to Finance Survey 2020). The most common reasons for not having a formal account are negative perception of formal institutions, little access to banks, or not having enough income to save. This suggests that the broader ecosystem of formal financial services is not conducive toward inclusion—either through low demand or poor provision of the right financial products. While both men and women lack access to formal financial services, especially credit, a “one-sized” approach is not appropriate to onboard all Nigerians. This report finds that different segments of the population have their own financial preferences and behaviors. Younger women are more sophisticated with their credit than older women, and will therefore benefit from more co...
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Report
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May 19, 2022
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Finding effective measures to integrate young people into productive adult life is crucial, especially given Africa's growing youth population. However, the evidence surrounding various policy alternatives is mixed, and there is no clarity on the long-term impact and cost-effectiveness of the various alternatives. In Rwanda, researchers conducted a cash benchmarking evaluation, — a direct comparison of in-kind to cash transfer programs — of a workforce readiness and skills training program called Huguka Dukore. 
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Brief
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May 12, 2022
Spanish
A medida que los patrones de migración cambian, se necesitan más pruebas del impacto de los programas de regularización en los países en desarrollo. En Colombia, los investigadores evaluaron el impacto de un programa de permisos temporales de trabajo y residencia para los migrantes venezolanos. Los resultados muestran que el programa de permisos tuvo efectos positivos significativos en el empleo, el bienestar y la resiliencia de los migrantes.
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Brief
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May 06, 2022
Spanish
Los migrantes desplazados que se establecen en países de acogida pueden encontrar numerosas barreras para acceder a programas que podrían proporcionarles un gran alivio y alojamiento. Estas barreras incluyen poco conocimiento acerca de los programas, desconfianza en el gobierno y cuellos de botella en el proceso de registro. En Colombia, los migrantes venezolanos enfrentan estas barreras al registrarse en un programa de regularización del estatus migratorio que les otorga acceso a los mercados laborales formales y servicios sociales. ¿El proporcionar información a los migrantes sobre los programas de protección social puede contribuir a superar las barreras al registro y aumentar las tasas de aceptación de estos programas?
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Brief
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May 04, 2022
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This paper examines the effects of a government regularization program offered to half a million Venezuelan refugees in Colombia. For this purpose, 2,232 surveys of refugee families were collected and used to compare refugees who arrived in Colombia around a specified eligibility date in 2018. The analysis finds that program beneficiaries experienced improvements in consumption (60 percent), income (31 percent), physical and mental health (1.8 sd), registration rates in the system that assesses vulnerability and awards public transfers (40 pp), and financial services (64.3 pp), relative to other refugees. The program also induced a change in labor formalization of 10 pp.
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Working Paper
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May 04, 2022
English
Through our work with partners in Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) and globally, IPA has succeeded in finding organizations with innovative solutions for reducing crime and violence, and working with them to refine, pilot, scale, and evaluate their programs. IPA has also worked with governments in the region to support, design, and test new strategies to address their security challenges. Our experience has led us to believe that tackling crime and violence in the region requires more than identifying programs to evaluate. Rather, we must develop long-term, iterative partnerships with local actors that identify the critical sources of insecurity, and design, pilot, evaluate, and scale effective solutions. A través de nuestro trabajo con socios en América Latina y el Caribe y en el resto del mundo, IPA ha logrado encontrar organizaciones con soluciones innovadoras para reducir el crimen y la violencia, y trabajar con ellas para refinar, evaluar y expandir sus programas. Desde IPA,...
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Brief
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May 04, 2022
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Organised criminal activities, by their nature, are hard to measure. Administrative data are often missing, problematic, or misleading. Moreover, organised criminal activities are under-reported, and under-reporting rates may be greatest where gangs are strongest. Researchers hoping to quantify organised crime systematically face daunting challenges. Collecting information on organised crime is inherently a slow process of cautious trial and error. It will vary from city to city, and typically within a city as well. Dozens of qualitative and quantitative researchers have shown that this can be done with care, ethically, and with adequate protection for human subjects. What they all have in common is that they commit themselves to a place, and they all take their time. While there are risks, the benefits can be enormous. The information these investigators collect is often rare and invaluable. Officials and policymakers commonly have little insight into criminal organisations, with terr...
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Published Paper
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May 01, 2022
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Organised crime poses one of the greatest threats to national security and development in the 21st century. Despite this, most policy, data collection, and scholarly research focuses on individuals and disorganised violence. Our work addresses several critical gaps in knowledge: 1. What are the incentives for gangs to engage in violence and socially costly behaviour? 2. Which are the trade-offs that practitioners face when deciding how to engage with organised violence? 3. What type of information do relevant decision-makers need to inform their policies? 4. Which are the most relevant tools for tracking down gang behaviour and use of violence?
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Published Paper
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May 01, 2022
English
In the last decade, more than 6 million Venezuelans have left their country. Around 1.85 million are currently in Colombia (GIFMM, 2021). The challenges to socioeconomically integrating this population into the country are innumerable. On February 8, 2021, the Colombian government decided to regularize their immigration status in Colombia and characterize them through the Estatuto Temporal de Protección para Venezolanos (ETPV). According to Migración Colombia data, in less than a year, more than 1.74 million Venezuelan migrants in Colombia completed the pre-registration process (RUMV) and more than one million completed the biometric registration, necessary steps for the regularization process. The scale and speed of this regularization process are unique in the world, particularly considering that certain social groups, such as irregular migrants, are difficult to reach and characterize. For example, a study conducted by researchers at Yale University found that the population of undo...
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Brief
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April 25, 2022
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In Liberia, we have continued our global tradition of rigorous, applicable research by building foundational research capacity and generating evidence to reduce poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
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Brief
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April 11, 2022
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In this brief, Innovations for Poverty Action has compiled evidence-based insights from randomized evaluations and quasi-experimental studies from non-crisis periods on how to support women’s return to the labor force and/or increase their participation in the workforce in low- and middle-income countries. We particularly focus on insights that may be applicable in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Brief
Date:
April 11, 2022

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