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


Measuring the impact of information on mayors' policy decisions: Evidence from Brazil

Monday, November 25, 2019, by Jonas Hjort, Diana Moreira, Gautam Rao, and Juan Francisco Santini

In recent decades, we’ve seen enormous growth in the number of program evaluations to measure the impacts of various government policies, NGO programs, and other implementers’ work.

Our own experience, along with the work of evidence-to-policy organizations like J-PAL, EPoD, and IPA, suggests that there is demand for evidence among policymakers (see J-PAL’s case studies for some examples). However, we have little empirical evidence on... Read More

How this year’s Nobel Prize winners helped shape an education revolution in Africa

Thursday, October 31, 2019, by Ashleigh Morrell

This post first appeared on the Teaching at the Right Level blog

It’s late 2016, and I’m standing at the back of a classroom in rural Eastern Province, Zambia, together with my colleague Emily Cupito and Ministry of General Education Principal Education Standards Officer, Mahuba Hazemba. A teacher stands at the front of the class describing a new maths concept, occasionally asking a question to the class. A few... Read More

Indian police officers

How can RCTs help us reduce violence and conflict?

Friday, September 6, 2019, by Aprille Knox and Cillian Nolan

The recent Pathways for Peace report from the UN and the World Bank underscored the need to develop more innovative responses to address the changing nature of violent conflict, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Read More

Can we support SME growth by increasing demand for their products?

Thursday, September 5, 2019, by Serene Ho

Differences in the size and wealth of economies between countries have long been the subject of much debate and discussion. While there are many theories of the sources of these differences, economists have long argued that productivity gaps between firms in the private sector are a major contributor. 

As such, rigorous research and experimental approaches have sought to close this productivity gap by focusing on identifying and dismantling... Read More

How do we achieve affordable, quality health care? Follow the evidence.

Friday, August 30, 2019, by Darshak Sanghavi, MD

In this guest post, Darshak Shavani writes about how a commitment to evidence, and a connection by J-PAL North America, led to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center launching the first ever randomized evaluation of a major federal health insurance program in the United States. Read More

J-PAL Africa launches the Digital Identification and Finance Research Initiative (DigiFI Africa)

Friday, August 2, 2019, by Emily Cupito and Aimee Hare

J-PAL Africa, based at the University of Cape Town, recently launched the Digital Identification and Finance Research Initiative (DigiFI Africa). Supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this initiative funds research to study the impact innovative government and private sector payment systems and digital identification reforms may have on citizens and governments across Africa. Read More

Policymakers and researchers collaborate to improve education quality in Puerto Rico

Tuesday, July 9, 2019, by Gustavo Bobonis and Nicolás Riveros Medelius

Puerto Rico faces deeply rooted and complex education challenges. We formed a partnership between the Puerto Rico Department of Education (PRDE) and academic researchers to study these challenges and promote decision-making based on data, research, and evidence. Through a collaboration built on trust and a common agenda, we aim to transform the Puerto Rico education system to improve youth academic achievement.

An education system facing historical and deeply rooted challenges... Read More