BlogNews

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

The potential for evidence-based policymaking in the Middle East and North Africa: Answering frequently asked questions

Monday, December 4, 2017, by Robert Rogers

Most people we meet don’t know that J-PAL has regional offices around the world, based at universities in Chile, France, India, Indonesia, South Africa, and a US office also based at MIT. These offices lead policy outreach and support our affiliated professors’ research projects in those regions. 

Over the last few years we’ve been working to expand J-PAL’s... Read More

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What does women’s labor force participation really tell us about women’s empowerment?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017, by Lucia Diaz-Martin, Rachel Glennerster, and Ariella Park

Women continue to participate in the labor market—or as non-economists would put it, “work”—at different rates than men. According to International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates in 2016, 49.5 percent of working-age women worldwide were in the workforce, compared to 76 percent of working-age men.

Measuring these inequalities and differences is difficult. For example, data on informal labor or care work is scarce—and interpreting what employment data indicates about... Read More

Rachel Glennerster on a large stage

When do innovation and evidence change lives?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017, by Rachel Glennerster

Innovate, test, then scale. The sequence seems obvious—but is in fact a radical departure. Too often the policy making process looks more like “have a hunch, find an anecdote, then claim success.”

Over the last decade and more, though, many individuals and organizations have invested in this new model of development. We’ve learned a lot including about how to improve learning, reduce extreme poverty, combat violence, and improve women’s empowerment.... Read More

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Twitter recap: J-PAL and IPA’s financial inclusion Twitter chat

Wednesday, November 8, 2017, by Lucia Diaz-Martin

On October 31, J-PAL’s Finance Sector staff and IPA’s Financial Inclusion Program staff co-hosted a Twitter chat as part of the Center for Financial Inclusion’s Financial Inclusion Week (#FinclusionWeek). We invited people on Twitter to ask us anything about the evidence in financial inclusion, and we received questions on a range of topics.

For those who missed it, we’re recapping the conversation here so you can catch... Read More

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Rethinking access to higher education: New scholarship opportunities for learners from sub-Saharan Africa

Tuesday, November 7, 2017, by Rachel Glennerster and Anna Schrimpf

J-PAL and MIT recently announced the launch of a full master’s degree program in Data, Economics, and Development Policy. This blended program combines online learning and one semester of residential instruction at MIT, and is open to students of all educational backgrounds. To help meet growing demand in sub-Saharan Africa for training and capacity building, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation will sponsor seven students from... Read More

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Cost-effectiveness for informed decision-making

Monday, October 23, 2017, by Samantha Carter

When a funder or policymaker wants to achieve a certain goal—for instance, increasing citizen security—it is not always obvious which strategy will have the largest impact on the intended beneficiaries.

For good policies and programs to be implemented, funders and policymakers need to know the impacts that their different options have on the outcomes they are targeting. (Throughout this blog, we will refer to policymakers, taking this term to include... Read More

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Building the evidence base to support smallholder farmers

Monday, October 16, 2017, by Kyle Murphy

Increasing migration has placed unprecedented demands on local food systems. Coupled with climate change, which continues to alter rain patterns and agricultural production, these global challenges are expected to exacerbate food insecurity in the coming century. This year’s World Food Day recognizes the importance of addressing food security and rural development in the context of migration and displacement.

Building the resilience and production capacity of smallholder farmers is... Read More

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