September 16, 2010
"Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) make up an estimated 90 percent of businesses and over 50 percent of employment worldwide" (IFC). A key issue then for development and cutting poverty is figuring out ways for these small firms to increase their...
September 15, 2010
A new xkcd on RCTs to lighten the day: http://xkcd.com/790/ For those not already familiar with perhaps the most perfect IPA cartoon ever: here is a repeat of an earlier xkcd: http://xkcd.com/552/ Hat tip for the new one: Karen Levy
September 10, 2010
From Ghana, Suvojit Chattopadhyay writes: --- So my friendly neighbourhood fruit-seller never started a savings scheme with me. No issues there, since it turns out that she has been saving with a susu-agent. Same deal - 1 GHC a day, saving up...
August 20, 2010
Chris Blattman notes that this Summer’s edition of the Journal of Economic Perspectives is focused on development economics. What he doesn’t note is that the articles are heavily focused upon the role of randomized controlled trials within...
August 05, 2010
Alanna Sheikh started a bit of a debate last week on the limitations of impact evaluations. She cites Andrew Natsios (a former USAID administrator) USAID has begun to favor health programs over democracy strengthening or governance programs because...
August 04, 2010
At IPA we often sell organizations on the idea of doing randomized testing by pointing out that corporations do it all the time, and they wouldn't pay for the evaluations if it weren't useful to them. In the Washington Post today Steven Pearlstein...
July 27, 2010
Over at the Financial Access Initiative, Jonathan Bauchet has an interesting post up on a very different kind of microfinance called SafeSave. Here’s Bauchet: At the heart of SafeSave’s methodology are the 66 collectors, who visit clients at their...
July 22, 2010
Boing Boing covers the release of Dan Lockton's Design with Intent Toolkit: 101 Patterns for Influencing Behaviour Through Design. It's not about development per se, but the the applications to good product design and marketing are limitless and...
July 15, 2010
As a quick follow-up to Meredith's post, I wanted to add a few additional thoughts. Meredith mentioned that "at IPA, we always strive to conduct research in a way that identifies not just whether an isolated solution works, but why it works, so...
July 13, 2010
A few days ago, Bill Easterly argued on Aidwatch that development comes not from solutions, but from functional problem-solving systems that motivate and facilitate solutions. In many ways, this is an argument for bottom-up, decentralized...
May 27, 2010
Nicholas Kristof is catching a lot of flak these days for a recent column on what he calls an "ugly secret of global poverty." Citing conversations with people in Congo, as well as research by IPA Research Affiliates Abhijit Banerjee and Esther...
May 14, 2010
Of the many excellent notions Dean Karlan brought up during his USAID lecture last week, one had particular resonance. Prof. Karlan expressed his wish that practitioners, who likely made up the majority of his audience at the USAID seminar, view...
May 11, 2010
A while back, a study estimated the number of people who will ever read any given published academic paper. The number was pretty low; it was somewhere just barely above the total number of editors plus their parents. The finding seemed to confirm...
May 06, 2010
Here's a nice article written by Chris Dunford and the gang at Freedom from Hunger. Freedom from Hunger is certainly an organization that understands the value of rigorous evaluation. They have worked with IPA in Benin, Peru, and Mali.
April 23, 2010
The John Bates Clark Medal is one of the most prestigious awards a young economist can win (some would say second only to the Nobel). And in fact, it has a reputation as a "Baby Nobel" because of how many awardees have gone on to win that prize as...
April 23, 2010
UPDATE from this morning's blog post about the John Bates Clark Medal: Esther Duflo was announced as the winner of the prestigious award. Congratulations from all at IPA!
April 19, 2010
3ie, the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation, has released a call for proposals for programs to be evaluated. Unlike 3ie's Open Window, in which researchers submit evaluation proposals, this Policy Window is a call for government...
April 12, 2010
IPA just released its latest newsletter, which provides a well-timed summary of the results of the recent microcredit impact evaluations, as well as information that reminds us that there are many "impact" questions left to be asked, and answered. ...
April 09, 2010
The debate over the impact of access to microcredit continues, with a group of practitioners entering the fray with the publication of "Measuring the Impact of Microfinance: Our Perspective." The release of this document, which is signed by Acción...
March 31, 2010
Images of adorable children in developing countries are so often used to build sympathy and support for international NGOs that photos of smiling African children have become a near prerequisite for hoping to raise any money from donors. Obviously...