Evaluating Social Programs

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Evaluating Social Programs

J-PAL's flagship executive education course on the design and use of impact evaluations is tailored to the needs of policymakers, practitioners, and researchers from NGOs, governments, international development organizations, and foundations from around the world.

Person explains equations on a chalkboard
Evaluating Social Programs course, 2017. Photo: Crystel Hadley | J-PAL

This five-day, in-person training is taught primarily by J-PAL affiliated professors and is regularly offered in English and French (Africa, Europe, North America), and semi-regularly in Spanish (Latin America) and Bahasa (Indonesia). The course gives participants a thorough understanding of why and when researchers and policymakers might choose to conduct randomized evaluations and how randomized evaluations are designed in real-world settings.

The course covers basic concepts related to measuring impact through randomized evaluations and discusses technical design choices as well as pragmatic considerations when conducting a randomized study. It reviews the benefits and methods of randomization, how to choose an appropriate sample size, and common threats and pitfalls to the validity of an experiment. It also covers the importance of a needs assessment and a theory of change, and how to measure outcomes effectively: tools that are critical for all program evaluations. 

Each course includes six to eight lectures, complemented by case studies, exercises, group discussions, and time to work on developing a research project with a group of peers, all facilitated by J-PAL staff. 

To view upcoming dates and apply, see the latest listings:

Host 2019 course dates  Location
J-PAL Southeast Asia July 20-21 Banda Aceh, Indonesia
J-PAL Global and J-PAL North America June 10-14 Cambridge, USA
J-PAL/CLEAR South Asia July 1-5 New Delhi, India
J-PAL Africa July 29 - August 2 Cape Town, South Africa

Sample Agenda

Click to expand the sample course agenda below:

Example agenda of course held in Cambridge


Fees for the course vary depending on where the course is hosted:

J-PAL Global and J-PAL North America (US)

Organizations headquartered in High-income* countries Organizations headquartered in Low and lower/upper middle-income* countries
For-profit, Foundation, or Intergovernmental organization $3,500 $3,500
Academic or Research Institution $3,500 $2,500
National government $3,500 $2,500
State, county, or municipal government $2,500 $1,500
NGO (operating budget < $10M) $2,000 $1,500
NGO (operating budget > $10M) $2,500 $1,500

World Bank Income Categories

J-PAL Europe

Organizations headquartered in High-income countries Organizations headquartered in Low and lower/upper middle-income countries
For-profit/Foundation EUR 3000 EUR 2000
Academic/Research Institution EUR 3000 EUR 1500
Intergovernmental Organization EUR 3000 EUR 3000
Government EUR 3000 EUR 1500
International NGOs EUR 3000 EUR 3000
Local NGOs EUR 3000 EUR 750

J-PAL Latin America

Organizations headquartered in High-income countries Organizations headquartered in Low and Middle-income countries
For-profit/Foundation USD $2000 USD $2000
Academic/Research Institution USD $1500 USD $1250
Intergovernmental Organization USD $2000 USD $2000
Government USD $1500 USD $1500
International NGOs USD $2000 USD $2000
Local NGOs USD $1200 USD $950
Students USD $950 USD $500

J-PAL South Asia/CLEAR

Organizations headquartered in High-income* countries (service tax extra as applicable) Organizations headquartered in Low and lower/upper middle-income* countries ((service tax extra as applicable)
For-profit/Foundation INR 120000 INR 60000
Academic/Research Institution INR 120000 INR 45000
Multilateral, bilateral, and intergovernmental organizations INR 120000 INR 120000
Government INR 120000 INR 45000
NGO INR 60000 INR 35000
Graduate student INR 35000 INR 35000

J-PAL Africa

Organizations headquartered in high-income* countries Organizations headquartered in low/middle-income* countries
Multi-national/For-profit/Foundation USD 2,000 USD 2,000
Academic/Research Institution USD 2,000 USD 1,000
Government USD 2,000 USD 700
NGO USD 2,000 USD 500
Graduate student See note* See note*

*Determined on a case-by-case basis

Note: staff at academic institutions may qualify for tuition assistance, see for example tuition benefits at MIT.