Policy Lessons

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Policy Lessons

Our sector chairs and staff review and synthesize key findings and policy lessons from randomized evaluations and conduct cost-effectiveness analyses to help inform relevant policy debates. Visit our library of Policy Publications for a broader list of key policy insights from randomized evaluations.

Two college students


Personalized Assistance, Timely Reminders, and Fee Waivers Boosted College Access

Relatively low-cost programs to simplify the college application process and support students through this transition can increase college enrollment and persistence in the United States and Canada. Personalized assistance, timely reminders, and fee... Read More

Crime, Violence, & Conflict

Reducing Crime with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy helped young urban men in Liberia and the United States become more focused on the future, reducing criminal and violent behavior and increasing graduation rates when delivered in school. Read More

Two students work on a whiteboard


Charter Schools

The impacts of attending charter schools have varied. Those with the most positive impacts have adopted a “No Excuses” approach and have tended to be in urban areas where the traditional public school alternatives are generally poor performing. Read More

Two men from a distance in a green field


Protecting Farmers from Weather-Based Risk

Weather index insurance protects farmers against losses from extreme weather and facilitates investment in their farms, but randomized evaluations have shown low demand for these products at market prices. Read More

Education, Health, Labor Markets, Crime, Violence, & Conflict

Early Childhood Stimulation

Early childhood stimulation programs implemented at home can contribute to children’s cognitive and socio-emotional development, ultimately enabling them to improve on a number of future life outcomes. Read More

Beneficiaries of the program in Ghana with their asset of choice, goats


Building Stable Livelihoods for the Ultra-Poor

A multifaceted livelihood program that provided ultra-poor households with a productive asset, training, regular coaching, access to savings, and consumption support led to large and lasting impacts on their standard of living. Read More

Women selling produce



Seven randomized evaluations from around the world show that microcredit does not have a transformative impact on poverty, but it can give low-income households more freedom in optimizing the ways they make money, consume, and invest. Read More

Political Economy & Governance

Community Participation

While increased community participation has been advocated as a way to improve the quality of public projects and services, evidence from randomized evaluations provides very mixed results about its effectiveness. Read More

Health care provider distributing free insecticide-treated bednet to mother who just delivered baby at clinic, Kenya.


Pricing Preventive Health Products

Charging even very small user fees sharply limits access to preventive health care. Though charging small fees is promoted for many reasons, several experiments in different countries found very little support for these views. Read More

In 2010, over 90 percent of primary school age children around the world were enrolled in primary and secondary education (World Bank, The State of Education). But being in school does not guarantee that students are learning.


Increasing Test Score Performance

The impacts of numerous strategies to improve student learning vary considerably. They also incur drastically different costs, and some programs therefore achieve learning gains with much greater cost-effectiveness than others. Read More

Children in India do classwork using chalk on the stone floor


Improving Student Participation

The results of randomized evaluations reveal the most cost-effective approaches to improving student attendance. Read More