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Quote of the Day

Nov 28/10 | From the blog
by Lee Crawfurd

Detailed measurement and evidence of what works and what doesn't in development is one of our most powerful weapons in the battle against global poverty. We need to know what works, and keep on doing it.

Andrew Mitchell, UK Secretary of State for International Development

How to fix the microcredit crisis in India

Nov 26/10 | From the blog

Leading microfinance researchers including several IPA affiliates write in The Indian Express on the current crisis in microcredit and the government's response. They argue that the heavy-handed response by the Andhra Pradesh government risks making the poor worse off, and instead propose five immediate starting points for reform:

Peace-building in Liberia

Nov 26/10 | From the blog
by Lee Crawfurd

Chris Blattman is off to Liberia to check in on a couple of projects being implemented with IPA. I'm pretty sure our excellent field staff will have everything under control.

One project is a study on a training program for former civil war combatants, another an evaluation of a peace education program. If you thought that RCTs couldn't do governance, you thought wrong.

Saving the Poor

Nov 22/10 | From the blog
by Lee Crawfurd

Last week Melinda Gates announced new funding of $500 million for micro-savings services in the developing world. In her speech she cited research being conducted by IPA on commitment savings accounts in Malawi. These accounts have had huge huge impacts, increasing bank deposits, farm investments, and ultimately consumption.

Bad news for development workers: Jet lag makes you dumb

Nov 17/10 | From the blog
by Nathanael Goldberg

Wired reports on a study finding hamsters subjected to jet lag suffered long-term cognitive impairment:

The jet-lagged hamsters were worse at learning which of two chambers contained a desirable running wheel. Even after 28 days of a back-to-normal schedule, the formerly jet-lagged hamsters still showed learning and memory problems.

At last, I have a scientific excuse!  Maybe we can all be more forgiving of our frequently traveling colleagues.

From the Global Washington 2010 Conference

Nov 16/10 | From the blog
by Tom Paulson

This cross-posted from the Humanosphere blog 

Is poor fitness contagious?

Nov 15/10 | From the blog
by Lee Crawfurd

A new study from researchers at UC Davis, Pittsburgh and the US Air Force Academy uses randomized assignment of students at the Air Force Academy to squadrons to estimate the impact of social networks on fitness:

If only aid projects were all this honest...

Nov 11/10 | From the blog
by Lee Crawfurd

Sign at a Psychic Booth in Covent Garden, London. (Photo: Dean Karlan)

Giving is hard

Nov 10/10 | From the blog
by Meredith Startz

A while back, a donor posted a charitable-giving-comedy-of-errors story on the GiveWell blog. In it, Ian Turner simply wants to give away money, and ends up spending years doing background checks, reading research papers, and making a lot of direct calls to NGOs. After all that, he still feels that he often gave to groups that didn't use the money well. 

Where's my goat?

Nov 10/10 | From the blog
by Lee Crawfurd

Filmmaker Christopher Richardson buys goats for third world families as "ethical" thank-you gifts for his clients. When some of his clients express their doubts about the existence of these goats, Christopher goes to Zambia to find out for himself.  

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