The IPA Blog


Biometric Technology and Loan Enforcement

Jan 07/11 | From the blog
by Arielle Salomon

Without a national system to track identity, lenders in developing nations are challenged by identity fraud, rendering the establishment of credit bureaus near impossible.

Biometric technology such as using computers to track identity with fingerprints may be a possible solution.   Xavier Giné, Jessica Goldberg, and Dean Yang’s research explores the use of fingerprinting in Malawi as a method of repayment tracking and loan enforcement. Check out the study summary here.

A little RSS Hiccup

Jan 06/11 | From the blog
by Lee Crawfurd

Apologies if you're reading us through an RSS reader and you just got swamped - we've been fixing some bugs and clearing up the back-end of our website and in the process re-sent every single blog post. Sorry!

Why microfinance research is not wrong?

Jan 06/11 | From the blog
by Lee Crawfurd

A recent profile of work by John Ioannidis caused a bit of a stir, showing that most medical research is likely to be wrong due to publication bias and small samples.

An Inside Look: Innovations for Poverty Action in Ghana

Jan 04/11 | From the blog
by Lee Crawfurd

Ghana is home to one of IPA's largest country offices, managing a diverse set of research projects across agriculture, education, access to finance and health, and including a major scale-up initiative in partnership with the Ministry of Education. 

Notes from the field: Street youth rehabilitation in Liberia

Dec 27/10 | From the blog


Chris Blattman describes an update on one of his projects with IPA in Liberia:

Helen, the research assistant overseeing the targeting, surveying, and behavioral measurement emails me on progress:

…surprisingly none of our equipment disappeared and none of our enumerators were juked, harassed or hustled from.

Nudges for Development

Dec 22/10 | From the blog
by Lee Crawfurd

Sadly there was no randomized evaluation, so we can't be sure. But there are good reasons to believe that Malawi's national fertilizer subsidy scheme has been successful in increasing agricultural production.  

Malawi Chart

Experiments Everywhere: Wikipedia Marketing

Dec 16/10 | From the blog
by Lee Crawfurd

If you have looked something up on Wikipedia during the past few weeks you may have noticed a banner across the top of each page with some kind of "personal message" from Jimmy Wales. 

This choice of message was no accident. What is fascinating about this fundraising campaign is that every banner is being tested against alternatives to maximize clicks and donations, and all of the tests all being documented online.

Read all about it here.

Microcredit is not the Enemy

Dec 14/10 | From the blog
by Dean Karlan

I had an op-ed published yesterday in the FT with Abhijit Banerjee, Pranab Bardhan, Esther Duflo, Erica Field, Asim Khwaja, Dilip Mookherjee, Rohini Pande and Raghuram Rajan, discussing the recent crisis in microfinance in India. You may need to register (for free) with to read the whole thing. 

Randomized Taxes?

Dec 13/10 | From the blog
by Lee Crawfurd

This past week, wrangling over the Bush-era tax cuts has riveted Washington... If only there were a scientific way to determine the real impact of taxation on industriousness, labor supply, and innovation.

According to some scholars, there is. Randomly assign a representative sample of the population — say, 10,000 taxpayers — a lower tax rate, and see what happens...

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