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

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

Learners work together during workshop

Expanding access to higher education for refugees

Monday, May 7, 2018, by Anna Schrimpf, Lindsay Shanahan, and Morgan Yucel

The MicroMasters team at J-PAL recently announced a new collaboration with ReACT Hub, an MIT initiative that designs and deploys new learning opportunities for displaced populations.

Starting in the summer of 2018, ReACT will sponsor a cohort of refugees to join the MicroMasters in Data, Economics, and Development Policy, providing selected learners with access to scholarships for the five MicroMasters in DEDP... Read More

Affiliate spotlight: William Evans on holistic approaches to reducing poverty in the United States

Tuesday, May 1, 2018, by William Evans and Hanna Juergens

William Evans is a professor of economics and chair of the Economics Department at the University of Notre Dame. He is a co-founder of the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO). William has been a J-PAL affiliate since 2017.

What is one current research project that you're particularly excited about?

LEO is evaluating a program in Rapid City, South Dakota called Uplifting Parents (UP) that provides... Read More

New affiliated professors join the J-PAL network

Tuesday, April 3, 2018, by J-PAL

Four researchers recently joined J-PAL’s academic network: David Deming at Harvard University, Stefan Dercon at University of Oxford, Namrata Kala at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Patrizio Piraino at the University of Cape Town. Their varied research interests include technologies that help people adapt to environmental change, the determinants of socioeconomic disadvantage, and how to finance responses to natural disasters. 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