Download
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.
Country:
Topics:
Type:
Working Paper
Date:
January 01, 2022
Download
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...
Authors:
Country:
Program area:
Type:
Brief
Date:
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.
Program area:
Type:
Brief
Date:
December 28, 2021
English
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...
Type:
Report
Date:
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.
Country:
Type:
Brief
Date:
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.
Country:
Type:
Brief
Date:
December 10, 2021
Download
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.
Country:
Type:
Published Paper
Date:
November 26, 2021
Download
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.
Country:
Type:
Brief
Date:
November 12, 2021
Download
How should aid for refugees be allocated to assist refugees and gain the support of host communities? While host populations often believe they are negatively affected by refugees, little evidence exists on the potential for aid to facilitate positive relations and mitigate tension. We conduct a randomized controlled trial to investigate two programs for Ugandan (host) microentrepreneurs: cash grants delivered with information that connects the grant with Uganda’s inclusive refugee policies and existing aid-sharing policy, and mentorship by an experienced refugee. We find that grants tagged to aid-sharing significantly increased support for inclusive policies including refugees’ right to work and hosting additional refugees. Grants and information separately, mentorship by a refugee, and mentorship by a Ugandan also increased support for inclusion but by less than the cash and information programs combined. Contact with the refugee-led organization partially drives these effects. Throu...
Country:
Type:
Working Paper
Date:
November 10, 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.
Country:
Program area:
Type:
Working Paper
Date:
November 09, 2021
Download
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...
Type:
Research Resource
Date:
November 05, 2021
DOWNLOAD
Stunting, or being too short for one’s age, is a warning signal that a child is at risk of failing to reach their full physical and developmental potential. Stunting is caused by poor nutrition during pregnancy, inadequate infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices, and repeated infections. Stunting has been associated with impaired brain development, poor school achievement and progress, reduced earnings in adulthood, and a higher probability of living in poverty. Stunted children are also at an increased risk of morbidity and childhood mortality from infectious diseases. In this brief, Innovations for Poverty Action’s Path-to-Scale Research team has compiled evidence from interventions to improve child growth and nutritional status in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).
Topics:
Type:
Brief
Date:
November 04, 2021
Can information and communication technologies help citizens monitor their elections? We analyze a large-scale field experiment designed to answer this question in Colombia. We leveraged Facebook advertisements sent to over 4 million potential voters to encourage citizen reporting of irregularities and varied whether candidates were informed about the campaign in a subset of municipalities. Total reports, as well as evidence-backed ones, experienced a large increase. Across a wide array of measures, electoral irregularities decreased. Finally, the reporting campaign reduced the vote share of candidates dependent on irregularities. This light-touch intervention is more cost-effective than monitoring efforts traditionally used by policymakers.
Country:
Program area:
Type:
Working Paper
Date:
October 28, 2021
Download
Women who become pregnant less than 24 months after giving birth face numerous risks to their own health and the health of their child. As such, postpartum family planning services can help women to better space pregnancies and mitigate health risks. However, little is known about how postpartum family planning impacts women’s contraceptive use, fertility choices and birth spacing.  In a new policy brief, Mahesh Karra, Associate Director of the Human Capital Initiative (HCI) at Boston University's Global Development Policy Center, and four coauthors analyze their results from a randomized controlled trial that provided new and expecting mothers in Lilongwe, Malawi with access to a range of postpartum family planning services between September 2016 and February 2019. The services consisted of a combination of home visits from a family planning counselor, free transportation to a family planning clinic and financial reimbursement for purchasing services from the clinic.  Key Findings: Po...
Country:
Program area:
Type:
Brief
Date:
October 25, 2021
Download
The area of family planning is unique in that the patient, rather than the provider, is seen as the key decision-maker in determining the best course of treatment. As such, family planning programs strive to afford women and couples the greatest degree of choice over contraceptive methods, and consequently invest significant resources into providing patients with complete and accurate information. Counselors often consult with patients about their options, but little is known about how the information and contraceptive methods that are presented during counseling sessions shape the way women make informed choices about their preferred contraceptive methods.  In a new policy brief, Mahesh Karra, Associate Director of the Human Capital Initiative (HCI) at Boston University's Global Development Policy Center, and Kexin Zhang assess the results of a 2019 study conducted with 785 married women from Lilongwe, Malawi. The study aimed to evaluate how user-centered counseling approaches to fami...
Country:
Program area:
Type:
Brief
Date:
October 25, 2021
Download
Humanitarian crises affect over 200 million people globally and exact a large toll on population mental health. We assessed the impact of an economic transfer program on the mental health of internally displaced persons and host populations in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We conducted a randomised trial among vulnerable households residing in 25 villages in North Kivu Province, DRC, where a large United Nations program responds to population displacement by providing economic transfers in the form of vouchers for essential household items (EHI). Households that were in need of assistance but outside the program’s standard eligibility criteria were randomly assigned (1:1) to a “voucher” or to “no intervention”. Households in the voucher group received US$50-92 worth of vouchers to use at a fair where EHI, such as blankets, clothes, buckets, and pans, were sold. The head woman of each household was interviewed just before the fair, six weeks and one year after the fair. T...
Program area:
Type:
Working Paper
Date:
October 14, 2021
Download
Despite the potential of intergroup contact, there is little rigorous evidence about whether it can build lasting real-world behavior change in areas affected by conflict and ethnic violence. Evidence on the extent to which this tolerance can extend outside the intervention, or spillover to others in the community, is likewise sparse. To test whether positive and cooperative contact can improve relations across groups in post-conflict communities, Salma Mousa (Yale) randomly assigned displaced Christians either to play with Muslims, or fellow Christians, through a two-month soccer league in an ISIS-affected area of Iraq.
Authors:
Country:
Program area:
Type:
Report
Date:
October 05, 2021
Download
Mobile financial services have become the main channel of financial inclusion, especially in low-income countries. However, consumer protection failures in the sector remain common. In Uganda, researchers partnered with the Uganda Communications Commission to conduct a phone-based survey among 1,000 users of mobile financial services to inquire about their experiences. In addition, they are leveraging access to mobile network operators’ customer care logs to test and implement new tools for analyzing complaints and resolving disputes. This final report summarizes the key findings and recommendations from IPA's work with the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) analyzing consumer complaints records. A report summarizing the findings from the consumer survey can be found here.
Authors:
Country:
Program area:
Type:
Report
Date:
September 29, 2021
Download
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) around the world have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Women-led businesses have suffered disproportionately from the slowing pace of business activity. A gender-intentional approach to short-term mitigation and long-term recovery could address some of the gender-specific dimensions of COVID-related shocks and protect gains made on gender equality in recent years. In this brief, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) has compiled key policy-relevant findings for the short- and long-term recovery from the COVID-19 crisis of women-led businesses in low- and middle-income countries. These insights may help inform the design of programs and policies to support women-led businesses in the context of the current pandemic and beyond.
Type:
Brief
Date:
September 27, 2021
Download
A central challenge to telephone surveys is low response rates. This is particularly true for random digit dial (RDD) surveys, which have especially low response rates. For researchers designing RDD survey protocols, there is a clear tradeoff between effort and composition, where surveys can achieve a higher response rate by calling fewer numbers repeatedly or by calling more numbers less intensively. This brief explores this tradeoff by measuring the effects of (i) repeated attempts per case, and (ii) rescheduling a call, on completion rates and sample composition. Using data from nine low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), we find that repeated and rescheduled attempts result in lower completion rates than new attempts, on average. However, the respondents who complete the survey in later attempts or after rescheduling have statistically significant differences in observable characteristics. This suggests that more call attempts may be needed to adequately represent the respondent...
Authors:
Type:
Phone Survey Methods Resource
Date:
September 27, 2021

Pages