For Dean Karlan, our founder, Innovations for Poverty Action started close to home – literally. In the early days, IPA was run out of Dean’s living room.
Dean didn't know it at the time, but IPA was born out of his travels throughout Latin America before grad school. He and a friend worked for a US based microcredit company in their Latin America offices, where they built an accounting software system from scratch. While the system ultimately became discarded there was a silver lining: those experiences traveling and talking with the microcredit company employees and fellow aid workers about how they made decisions spurred him to undertake his PhD in economics. The rest, as they say, is history.
The Early Years of IPA
Rapid Growth of RCT’s and IPA
IPA soon moved to New Haven and grew quickly. In the first ten years, we partnered with over 200 academics and implementing organizations, and completed over 125 studies spanning the sectors of agriculture, education, finance, governance, health, and water & sanitation. We also garnered attention in the mainstream media, with mentions in The New York Times, Wired Magazine, The Economist and The Guardian.
IPA now has a headquarters in New Haven, CT, as well as other US offices in New York and Washington D.C. Thankfully, for Dean’s family, we are too big to fit in the living room anymore! We are working in 18 countries with approximately 1,000 colleagues around the globe. We have now partnered with over 400 researchers from leading academic institutions and over 400 implementing partners. We have completed 275 studies and have hundreds more on going.
The Future of IPA
IPA will continue to build on what we have achieved and leverage what makes us unique to address the next challenges of fighting poverty. There is much more to learn about what works best to help the poor, and we need to ensure that what we learn gets translated into action.