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

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MicroMasters students in Data, Economics, and Development Policy complete first semester

Monday, July 10, 2017, by Anna Schrimpf and Lindsay Shanahan

The online MITx MicroMasters program in Data, Economics, and Development Policy (DEDP), a collaborative effort between J-PAL and MIT’s Department of Economics, equips learners with the practical skills and theoretical knowledge to tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing developing countries and the world’s poor. Through a series of five online courses and in-person exams, learners gain a strong foundation in microeconomics, development economics, probability and statistics, and engage... Read More

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New findings on children’s math learning in India demonstrate the importance of field research for cognitive science

Friday, July 7, 2017, by Esther Duflo

Cognitive Science is a relatively new field that has made dramatic advances over the last decades: advances that shed light on our conscious and unconscious minds, bring insights into fields from neuroscience to economics, and now play no small role in the development of machines that are smart enough to take over tasks that until now, only humans could perform. 

But cognitive science has underperformed conspicuously in one domain: Its... Read More

Group of J-PAL staff and Punjab government officials pose for MoU signing

J-PAL South Asia launches partnership with Government of Punjab, India

Friday, June 2, 2017, by Sharanya Chandran

In April 2017, the State Government of Punjab, India and J-PAL South Asia at IFMR signed a Memorandum of Understanding to support the government in taking an evidence-informed approach to its poverty alleviation efforts.

The state of Punjab, with a population of 27 million, is interested in strengthening policies and interventions for economic growth, with a focus on poverty reduction, youth employment, and rural development.

J-PAL South Asia will assist... Read More

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A practical framework for evidence-informed policy: Addressing the generalizability puzzle

Wednesday, May 24, 2017, by Rachel Glennerster

In recent decades, there has been a huge increase in the number of impact evaluations of different approaches to reducing poverty. Despite this, if you are a policymaker, it is unlikely that there will be a rigorous impact evaluation that answers precisely the question you are facing in precisely the location in which you are facing it. So how do you draw on the available evidence, both from your local... Read More

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Stopping the Revolving Door: What we know—and still need to learn—about reducing recidivism in the United States

Friday, May 5, 2017, by Ben Struhl

More than three of every four individuals released from U.S. prisons are re-arrested within five years. Given the sharp negative effects that incarceration has on individuals and their communities, as well as the often staggering expense of jails and prisons to governments and taxpayers, addressing this “revolving door” has become a top priority for many policymakers.

Reentry interventions—programs designed to help people readjust to society following their release from... Read More

Building the evidence base on smallholders’ barriers to technology adoption

Monday, May 1, 2017, by J-PAL

How can we increase profits and improve livelihoods for 500 million smallholder farming households around the world—the most common occupation for people living under US$2 a day? The seven newest grantees of the Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI) will evaluate strategies to increase the adoption and impact of potentially profitable technologies for smallholders. In its eighth competitive request for proposals, ATAI funded four randomized evaluations and three pilot projects.

Smallholders increasingly... Read More

Learning from charter school lotteries: new J-PAL policy publication

Monday, May 1, 2017, by Julia Chabrier

In the United States, about 2.5 million students attend one of the approximately 6,500 publicly funded charter schools. However, until recently there has been little rigorous evidence on the effectiveness of these alternatives to traditional public schools. A new policy bulletin produced by J-PAL North America reviews results from 17 evaluations in the United States that used admissions lotteries to study the impact of charter schools on student test scores and... Read More