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

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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

New evidence on stemming low-value prescribing

Wednesday, August 28, 2019, by Shantanu Agrawal, Michael L. Barnett, and Adam Sacarny

Health care policymakers and practitioners are increasingly pointing to overprescribing as a critical issue in the U.S. health care delivery system. Much of the attention has centered on opioids, as years of high prescribing along with other factors have culminated in a crisis. But the picture is equally concerning for other drug classes. Read More

Texas Tech agreement to abandon race in med school admissions will worsen health disparities

Wednesday, August 28, 2019, by Marcella Alsan and Owen Garrick

A recent agreement between the medical school of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and the Trump administration that forces the school to stop considering race as a factor in its admissions processes is a step backward for improving health care in the United States. Read More

A reason to be skeptical of workplace wellness programs’ impact

Monday, August 26, 2019, by Damon Jones, David Molitor, and Julian Reif

Does your workplace provide incentives to attend the gym? Offer support to quit smoking? Mandate completing a health assessment? It seems that everywhere you turn, businesses are investing resources into trying to improve the health of their workers. Read More

J-PAL North America’s US Health Care Delivery Initiative: Six reflections after six years

Thursday, August 22, 2019, by Amy Finkelstein

When I launched the US Health Care Delivery Initiative (HCDI) in 2013, my goal was to bring more rigorous evidence to bear on how to make the US health care system more efficient, effective, and equitable.

This goal was motivated by my findings with Sarah Taubman in Science that too few studies of health care delivery programs or approaches were empirically rigorous: less than 20 percent of studies in... Read More