BlogNews

News, ideas, and analysis from J-PAL staff and affiliated professors. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive monthly email updates.

Policy

Low-income Americans are missing out on the public benefits they're eligible for. Simple interventions can help.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018, by Matthew Notowidigdo

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—often referred to as food stamps—is one of the largest social safety net programs in the United States. But every year thousands of households eligible for SNAP benefits do not enroll, missing out on food assistance that could be critical. Enrollment among adults over the age of 60 is particularly low; in 2012, nearly half of older adults who qualified to receive SNAP benefits did... Read More

Lottery to select audit municipalities

We need evidence-based public policies in Brazil

Monday, July 16, 2018, by Claudio Ferraz

This post was first published as an op-ed in Nexo Jornal and has been translated from the original Portuguese.

The main challenge when it comes to public policy is knowing what works and why. Brazilian policy debate too often is built on belief-based arguments and ideology and relies little on data or rigorous evidence.

The adoption of policies based on empirical evidence is growing worldwide. Unfortunately, Brazil still... Read More

How do we know if education technology even works?

Monday, June 25, 2018, by Thomas Kane, Britt Neuhaus, and Philip Oreopoulos

This post first appeared as commentary in Education Week.

In April, the newest National Assessment of Educational Progress scores once again showed minimal progress in U.S. math and reading achievement and a widening achievement gap between our highest and lowest performers. Against this backdrop, educators today are eager for solutions that have long seemed elusive to age-old challenges in education.

Education technology will be part of... Read More

Adolescent females in India participate in an empowerment group

Evidence-informed approaches to reducing pregnancy among adolescents

Tuesday, June 12, 2018, by Rebecca Toole

In 2018, 21 million girls and young women aged 15 to 19 in developing regions are expected to become pregnant. The decisions that lead to pregnancy in adolescence are complex and do not occur in a vacuum: the broader sociocultural context, including social norms, individual beliefs and preferences, intrahousehold dynamics, and economic factors, such as income, shape an adolescent female’s decisions around marriage, sexual activity, and use of... Read More

Adapting a new educational approach to francophone West Africa

Thursday, May 31, 2018, by Ana Maria Tabacaru

In francophone West Africa, despite progress made in primary school enrollment rates, students’ learning levels remain low throughout primary school. For example, in Côte d’Ivoire, more than half of students did not reach a “satisfactory” level in reading and almost three in four students did not reach a “satisfactory” level in mathematics at the end of primary school. In Niger, the numbers are even lower—in both reading and math,... Read More

Conference participants discuss work

Meet the four finalists of J-PAL North America’s latest innovation competition

Tuesday, May 15, 2018, by Spencer Crawford

“It is no longer up for debate the critical impact that social determinants of health have on chronic disease, health outcomes, health care utilization, and costs.”

“[And] no one sector or organization can ‘fix’ these daunting issues, so partnerships with the community organizations who have been the long-time experts in addressing social needs are critical to do this work effectively," said Jillian Barber, Community Benefit and Health Improvement Manager at... Read More

Announcing J-PAL’s Policy Insights

Thursday, May 10, 2018, by Iqbal Dhaliwal and Benjamin Olken

Randomized evaluations can generate important insights about human behavior and institutions in addition to measuring the impacts of specific programs and policies. The knowledge generated across multiple randomized evaluations on the same topic can help inform decision-making in governments, NGOs, firms, and funders working to address similar challenges.

For years, J-PAL’s affiliated researchers and staff have been synthesizing what we’re learning from randomized evaluations about a wide range of topics... Read More

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