BlogNews

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

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Smartcards for smarter payments: Improving state capacity in Andhra Pradesh

Tuesday, September 5, 2017, by Vishnu Padmanabhan

Across the world, developing country governments spend millions on anti-poverty programs and subsidies, yet this money often does not reach the poor. Funds can be diverted by corrupt officials, and funds that are not lost may reach the wrong recipients. For instance, in India, leakages from the country’s largest social welfare program have been estimated to be as high as 51 percent (Imbert and Papp 2016, unpublished).

An increasingly popular... Read More

Students collaborate on laptop

Exploring the promise of education technology

Tuesday, September 5, 2017, by Vincent Quan

Around the world, there is widespread and growing interest in the use of technology in education. A recent industry projection estimated the global education technology—or “edtech”—industry to be valued at $252 billion by 2020. However, the rapid growth in use of edtech has outpaced rigorous research on its effectiveness. It’s important to step back and understand how different technologies affect student learning in order to ensure education technology serves to... Read More

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Who benefits most from school access policies? A gender breakdown of results from randomized evaluations

Thursday, August 10, 2017, by Rachel Glennerster

The majority of out of school children are girls, and much of the rhetoric about improving access to education focuses on girls. Yet many of the policies designed to improve primary school access (particularly those evaluated with randomized evaluations) do not specifically target girls. In J-PAL’s recent review of education RCTs, Roll Call, we therefore ask: Which gender benefits most from these school access policies?

We were surprised to... Read More

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Zambia to scale Teaching at the Right Level program to 1,800 schools

Tuesday, August 8, 2017, by Emily Cupito and Ben Simuyandi

Building on over a decade of rigorous research around the world and two years of iterative learning in Zambia, the Ministry of General Education will scale up a program called Catch Up to approximately 1,800 schools in Zambia over the next three years. Based on the Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) approach pioneered by the Indian NGO Pratham, Catch Up aims to improve basic literacy and numeracy skills of primary... Read More

Young man fixes a bicycle

More jobs, less crime

Tuesday, August 8, 2017, by Hannah Myers

Thousands of disadvantaged young people across the United States are working at camps, daycare centers, and corporate and government offices this summer through summer employment programs. A growing body of evidence, including a number of evaluations by several J-PAL affiliates, shows that these programs can lower violent crime rates among youth. This research has supported a program’s expansion in Chicago and spurred additional evaluations of new questions and in new... Read More

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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

Woman plays educational games with children

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

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