BlogNews

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

Research

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

Training presentation

Six rules of thumb for understanding statistical power

Monday, May 21, 2018, by Rohit Naimpally and Bridget Wack

Randomized evaluations can provide credible, transparent, and easy-to-explain evidence of a program’s impact. But in order to do so, adequate statistical power and a sufficiently large sample are essential.

The statistical power of an evaluation reflects how likely we are to detect any meaningful changes in an outcome of interest (like test scores or health behaviors) brought about by a successful program. Without adequate power, an evaluation may... 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

Keynote address

Bringing together policymakers and practitioners to shift cultural norms toward evaluation

Thursday, March 8, 2018, by Todd Hall

Implementing randomized evaluations and evidence-based policy often involves a culture shift—from fear of failure to embrace of learning, from program-centric to person-centric, and from services-oriented to outcomes-oriented.

As Linda Gibbs, a principal at Bloomberg Associates and senior fellow at Results for America, shared with an audience representing government, social services, and academia, “When you do this, you have to know some things aren’t going to work. You’ve got to acknowledge... Read More

J-PAL's new Gender sector

Tuesday, March 6, 2018, by Lucia Diaz-Martin and Seema Jayachandran

“Do you agree with the statement, “Men are better suited than women to work outside the home”?”

Seema asked parents in India this question as part of a research study to understand how a school-based program designed to change attitudes about gender roles could help reduce gender bias in Haryana, India.

According to recent World Bank estimates, only 27 percent of women in India currently participate in the labor force—a steep ten percentage point decrease from 2005 rates. This large decrease is notable because, according to analysis by J-PAL affiliate Rohini Pande (Harvard) and Charity Troyer Moore, about one-third of women who work primarily in housework would like to have a job but seem to be prevented by traditional gender norms that restrict women’s mobility. Read More

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