BlogNews

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

Research

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

A woman harvesting peas

Launching a practical guide to measuring women's and girls’ empowerment

Tuesday, July 10, 2018, by Lucia Diaz-Martin, Rachel Glennerster, and Claire Walsh

As part of the formative research that my research team and I (Rachel) conducted for a randomized evaluation on adolescent girls’ empowerment in Bangladesh, we interviewed young women about their daily lives, aspirations, and what they wanted to do that they were prohibited from doing. We also interviewed local NGOs and community partners, asking: “What does an empowered girl do differently than a girl who is not... Read More

Cultivating partnerships between health care practitioners and researchers

Thursday, June 28, 2018, by Spencer Crawford

“Trust and communication lay the foundation for a good working relationship,” shared Aaron Truchil of Camden Coalition of Health Care Providers (CCHP) with over 40 audience members, including academics and innovators in health care delivery.

Truchil’s keynote address—referencing his organization’s partnership with J-PAL affiliated researchers to evaluate CCHP’s care management program—kicked off this year’s Health Care Delivery Initiative (HCDI) workshop.

The workshop brought together researchers and... 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

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

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