Development policy should be redesigned to reflect new insights about human behavior, according to a new World Bank report that references numerous IPA evaluations. The World Bank’s World Development Report 2015: Mind, Society, and Behavior calls on the development community to shift its agenda based on new insights, and supports this proposal with findings from numerous IPA evaluations, including our work on commitment devices, reminders, and peer networks.
“Research shows that small differences in context, convenience, and salience have large effects on crucial choices, such as whether to send a child to school, prevent illness, or save to start a business,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim writes. “That means development practitioners need to focus not only on what interventions are needed but also on how they are implemented.”
Since first appearing in March 2014 in rural Guinea, the Ebola virus has infected at least 17,800 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and killed more than 6,300, according to figures from the Center for Disease Control from early December 2014.1 To ensure the safety of our team on the ground, IPA has suspended all non-Ebola studies and operations in the region. We are now pursuing new studies that simultaneously address the Ebola crisis, capitalize on our strong local presence, and ensure the safety of our staff.
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Heather Lanthorn, a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Public Health, who worked on the SMS reminders for malaria study. After the data collection was complete, she conducted a qualitative follow-up which she explains below.