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IPA’s Peace & Recovery Program (P&R) supports field experiments and related research in several broad areas: Reducing violence and promoting peace Reducing “fragility” (i.e. fostering state capacity) Preventing, coping with, and recovering from crises, focusing on conflict but including non-conflict humanitarian crises such as COVID-19 This document covers the aims, core themes, research questions, and focus countries for our competitive research fund, supported by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), and the Open Society Foundations (OSF). Please send all inquiries to peace@poverty-action.org
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Report
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February 01, 2022
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Throughout the developing world, citizens distrust the police and hesitate to bring crimes to their attention—a suboptimal equilibrium that makes it difficult for the police to effectively combat crime and violence. Community policing has been touted as one solution to this problem, but evidence on its efficacy in developing country contexts is sparse. We present results from a large-scale field experiment that randomly assigned a home-grown community policing intervention to police stations throughout rural Uganda. Drawing on administrative crime data and close to 4,000 interviews with citizens, police officers, and local authorities, we show that community policing had limited effects on core outcomes such as crime, insecurity, and perceptions of the police. We attribute these findings to a combination of turnover, treatment non-compliance, and resource constraints. Our study draws attention to the limits of community policing’s potential to reduce crime and build trust in the developing...
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Working Paper
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February 01, 2022
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The paper proceeds as follows: in Section I, we describe Sierra Leone’s ice industry and the shift in market structure that we exploit for variation. This section describes the basic effect of entry into ice manufacturing on ice and fish quantities and prices. Section II describes the data used in the analysis of relational contracting. Section III presents our core results, quantifying the effect of ice manufacturer entry on outcomes in the ice retail market including supply assurance, trade credit, and loyalty. Section IV concludes.
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Working Paper
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February 01, 2022
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In this brief, Innovations for Poverty Action has compiled evidence-based insights from multiple meta-analyses and three-dozen randomized evaluations (both IPA and non-IPA studies) on how to support young women’s skill-building and their transition into the labor force in low- and middle-income countries, with a focus on the COVID-19 crisis.
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Brief
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January 20, 2022
English
About 17 percent of the world’s population has received at least one COVID-19-related cash transfer payment since the onset of the pandemic. Many of these transfers have been conducted digitally to efficiently and safely provide economic relief to affected households. Amongst low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) that offered cash transfers, 58 disbursed funds  directly to a fully functioning bank account, an account only for benefit withdrawal, or a digital non-bank account. Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) research from the Philippines, Colombia, and Bangladesh explores consumers’ experience  with digital cash transfers, and supports policy recommendations to improve the effectiveness of G2P payments and future financial  inclusion.  Aproximadamente el 17 por ciento de la población mundial ha recibido al menos una transferencia monetaria a causa de la contingencia del COVID-19. Muchas de estas transferencias se han realizado de forma digital para brindar alivio económico de un...
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Brief
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January 19, 2022
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Overview The Human Trafficking Research Initiative (HTRI) invites proposals from researchers and organizations that intend to design and carry out studies on how to reduce human trafficking or respond to the needs of human trafficking victims but need some additional time and support to push the research project to the next stage. We expect to fund a total of six to nine proposals from research teams interested in expanding the evidence to further investigate this important topic. This document outlines the proposal guidelines and required application materials in detail. You can also learn more on our HTRI Competitive Fund page. Application Instructions Please click the orange "Download" button on the right-hand side of this page to review the entire Application Guidelines. A completed proposal consists of: (1) a completed application form; (2) a detailed budget; (3) CVs of researchers; and (4) if applicable, letters of support from implementing partners. Please submit all materials t...
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Research Resource
Date:
January 10, 2022
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We implemented a randomised controlled trial study to measure the impact of one-on-one engagement with local religious leadership on the compliance of protocols at their mosque. Our messaging was a combination of religious appeal and public health guidelines that were interactive, involving frequent elicitation of the respondents’ reactions and agreement, as well as asking them to commit to action. Our study is different from previous strategies of COVID-19 containment as it does not rely on mass messaging but rather focuses on one-on-one engagement with focal community leaders. It aims to improve the implementation and communication of the 20-point plan that was agreed between the government and religious clergy to contain the spread of COVID-19. However, it is not novel in its approach as it is similar to previous interventions like the polio vaccination drive that disseminates knowledge and engages at the community level. Thus, the results from our study can provide valuable insight...
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Brief
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January 01, 2022
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Governments across the developing world rely on their armed forces for domestic policing operations. Advocates of these “mano dura” (iron fist) policies view them as necessary to control violent crime, while detractors claim they undermine human rights. We experimentally evaluate a military policing intervention in Cali, Colombia, the country’s third largest city and among its most violent. The intervention involved recurring, intensive military patrols targeting crime hot spots, randomly assigned at the city block level. Using administrative crime and human rights data, surveys of more than 10,000 Cali residents, and detailed firsthand observations from civilian monitors, we find that military policing had weak (if any) effects on crime while the intervention was ongoing, and adverse effects after it was complete. We observe higher rates of crime, crime witnessing, and crime reporting in the weeks after the intervention, combined with higher rates of arrests. We also find some suggestive...
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Working Paper
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January 01, 2022
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We examine how trust shapes compliance with public health restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda. We use an endorsement experiment embedded in a mobile phone survey to show that messages from government officials generate more support for public health restrictions than messages from religious authorities, traditional leaders, or international NGOs. We further show that compliance with these restrictions is strongly positively correlated with trust in government, but only weakly correlated with trust in local authorities or other citizens. The relationship between trust and compliance is especially strong for the Ministry of Health and—more surprisingly—the police. We conclude that trust is crucial for encouraging compliance but note that it may be difficult to change, particularly in settings where governments and police forces have reputations for repression.
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Working Paper
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January 01, 2022
Spanish
La pandemia causada por el virus del Covid-19 ha cambiado la vida humana como muy pocos acontecimientos lo habían hecho en el pasado: no solo por afectar a miles de personas en todos los continentes, sino por paralizar la vida y la economía como las conocíamos. Poco se sabía del virus cuando varias naciones europeas reportaban miles de contagios y de fallecidos. En países como Colombia, se decretaban cuarentenas nacionales y medidas sanitarias ante una situación de la que poca información se tenía. Según el World Uncertainty Index (wui) realizado por el Fondo Monetario Internacional, la pandemia del Covid-19 ha causado más incertidumbre que cualquier otra crisis sanitaria en la historia o acontecimientos recientes, como los eventos terroristas del 11 de septiembre de 2001, la crisis financiera global de 2008, la crisis del euro a finales de 2009 o el Bréxit en 2016 (Ahir, Bloom y Furceri, 2018).
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Published Paper
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January 01, 2022
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Medellín's government wanted to raise its efficacy, legitimacy, and control. The city identified 80 neighborhoods with weak state presence and competing armed actors. In half, they increased nonpolice street presence tenfold for two years, offering social services and dispute resolution. In places where the state was initially weakest, the intervention did not work, mainly because the government struggled to deliver on its promises. Where the state began stronger, the government raised opinions of its services and legitimacy. If there are indeed low marginal returns to investing in capacity in the least-governed areas, this could produce increasing returns to statebuilding.
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Working Paper
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January 01, 2022
English
By the year 2030, roughly two thirds of the world’s population living in extreme poverty could be in fragile settings. Innovations for Poverty Action’s Peace & Recovery Program (P&R) aims to improve outcomes for conflict- and crisis-affected populations by building the evidence base on reducing violence and fragility, promoting peace, and preventing, managing, and recovering from crisis. The program prioritizes studies that develop, illustrate, or test fundamental theories of peace, violence, and recovery, especially those that are highly policy-relevant, challenge common beliefs, pioneer innovative interventions, and produce evidence where little currently exists.
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Brief
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December 28, 2021
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Ten years ago, there was a common understanding in the international development community that policies to support entrepreneurship and firm growth in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) were needed, but there was little rigorous evidence to inform the design and implementation of these policies around the world. The Small and Medium Enterprise Program (or SME Initiative, as it was called at that time) was born out of the need to fill this gap in knowledge and evidence. We aimed to achieve this by bringing together the worlds of research and policy to tackle important questions around the constraints to firm growth and find cost-effective solutions. Founded by Dean Karlan (Northwestern University) and Antoinette Schoar (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in 2011, the SME Initiative started with a small but committed team and a handful of research projects and soon grew to become a thriving and prolific research program. Over the last decade, the SME Program has been at the fo...
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Report
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December 16, 2021
Los programas de transferencias monetarias condicionadas (TMC) han demostrado su eficacia para mejorar el nivel educativo en algunos contextos, pero no se han realizado evaluaciones rigurosas sobre el impacto que tienen los diferentes diseños de este tipo de programas. Investigadores de Bogotá, Colombia, evaluaron si cambiar el cronograma de pagos y el tipo de TMC podría llevar a un mayor impacto en el nivel educativo. Los resultados revelan que todas las variantes de TMC tuvieron un impacto positivo similar sobre la asistencia escolar, pero las transferencias que tenían como condición la continuidad de la educación tuvo un mayor impacto en matrículas escolares de niveles de educación secundaria y terciaria, en particular para niños y niñas de poblaciones en riesgo.
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Brief
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December 10, 2021
Más del 60 por ciento de los trabajadores del mundo están empleados en el sector informal, y se enfrentan a más retos y riesgos que sus homólogos del sector formal. Aunque los gobiernos y las organizaciones han puesto en marcha programas para fomentar la formalización, el progreso es más lento de lo esperado. En Colombia, los investigadores estudiaron si el acceso a la información promovía la formalización en una comunidad de bajos ingresos. Los resultados sugieren que la intervención tuvo pequeños y positivos, pero en general no significativos, en la formalización de las empresas, y efectos más sustanciales en la percepción de los costos y beneficios de la formalización. Se necesitan más investigaciones para generalizar estos resultados y aclarar los mecanismos subyacentes. Se está planeando realizar una evaluación a mayor escala en Bogotá.
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Brief
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December 10, 2021
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Working in partnership with local police agencies, we conducted six coordinated field experiments in Brazil, Colombia, Liberia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Uganda. We collaborated with the police to implement locally appropriate increases in community policing practices. We planned for risks involved in partnering with the police by soliciting reports of police abuse and carefully selecting the areas we worked in and the police units we partnered with. We randomly assigned areas to either the community policing practices or a control group. Our interventions reached approximately 9 million people in 516 treated areas. At the end line, we surveyed 18,382 citizens and 874 police officers and obtained crime data from the police. We conducted experiments in multiple settings with common measures to strengthen the generalizability of our findings and preregistered a joint analysis of the six studies to reduce the risk of publication bias.
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Published Paper
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November 26, 2021
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In Rwanda, we have continued our global tradition of rigorous, applicable research by building foundational research capacity and conducting evaluations in areas of pressing national concern. Examples of our work covered in this brief offer promising insights into everyday issues that affect the lives of the Rwandan poor.
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Brief
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November 12, 2021
In order to understand how refugee crises end we require an understanding of when and why refugees return home. We study the drivers of refugees’ decision-making using original observational and experimental data from a representative sample of 3,003 Syrian refugees in Lebanon. We find that conditions in a refugee’s home country are the primary drivers of return intentions. Refugees’ decisions are influenced primarily by safety and security in their place of origin, their economic prospects, and the availability of public services. Personal networks and confidence in information are also important. By contrast, the conditions in refugee-hosting countries—so-called “push” factors—play a much smaller role. Even in the face of hostility and poor living conditions, refugees are unlikely to return unless the situation at home improves significantly. In addition to the data from Lebanon, we explore the generality of our findings using a second original survey of Syrian refugees in Jordan.
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Working Paper
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November 09, 2021
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The Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Initiative has launched the fourth round (Fall 2021) of its competitive fund. Proposals are due by 11:59pm EST December 17, 2021. We particularly encourage multidisciplinary teams that include researchers that are from the countries where the field research occurs, and includes researchers with previous gender/IPV experience. Those interested in applying are asked to first read through our funding priorities on our website. With this call for proposals, IPA solicits proposals from research teams interested in expanding their existing studies to further investigate this important topic. In most cases, we expect to fund studies in which the intervention was not originally intended to target IPV, and the assessment of IPV outcomes were not part of the original study design. However, we will consider funding for the expansion of studies already focused on IPV where there is a unique opportunity to add novel insights. Thematically, there is particular int...
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Research Resource
Date:
November 05, 2021

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